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    Erdan urges PM to set up natural resources committee
    Environmental minister calls on Netanyahu to form a public committee to review natural resources policies, long-term environmental impact

    Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan has asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a public committee to review policies pertaining to the use of natural resources in Israel, Ynet has learned.


    The proposed committee will also review the royalties paid to the State and the public by the industries using the resources and the long-term environmental impact on their reserves.


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    Erdan would also like to see the committee recommend various policy changes, coinciding with Israel's long-tern needs and the public's right to enjoy the residuals, a ministry spokesman said.


    In a letter sent to the prime minister, Erdan said that his petition follows a recent deal signed between the Treasury and Dead Sea Works, about their potash mining industry in the Dead Sea.


    DSW agreed to pay 90% of the costs of rehabilitating the area, but details of the agreement it signed regarding royalties owed to the State have not been disclosed.


    "The question of royalties is relevant to all of Israel's natural resources and their use by private bodies for the purpose of commercial gain," Erdan said in the letter.


    "Israel's natural resources are the property of the Israeli public by proxy of the Public Trust Fund. The State runs them as a trustee and its job is to realize the public's rights in the matter.


    "The principle of distributive justice," he continued, "demands that a franchisee using a natural resource must pay the public and the State must ensure the proper distribution of revenue between them."


    Erdan further warned that "in a world where global demand for natural raw materials is growing, it is our duty to ensure that we make wise, efficient and economical use of Israel's few natural resources and that we have the public interest at heart when pricing them."




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    Minister Gilad Erdan
    Photo: Avigail Uzi