Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan
and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon have
ordered the relocation of the Haifa Bay ammonia depository, Ynet has learned.
The ammonia depository
has been the focus of various environmental, industrial and security concerns. Still, its actual relocation is several years away.
Erdan and Simhon have instructed their offices to come up with an alternative location, which would be of minimal risk to the environment and local population.
Haifa Bay ammonia depository currently processes imported ammonia. The new facility will create natural-gas based ammonia reducing the risked currently posed by transferring the hazardous material from ship to shore.
Haifa Bay (Photo: Lowshot.com)
Relocating the Haifa Bay ammonia depository was one of the leading recommendations made by the Shafir Committee, which in 2007 reviewed the process and facilities in which hazardous materials were being handled in Israel.
Both ministries said that they are exploring the possibilities of government incentives to contractors who would be willing to take on the endeavor.
"The activities of the ammonia depository cannot come at the expense of public safety," Erdan said. "I will keep prompting policies that support extracting dangerous industries from populated areas in favor of relocation to areas where they will pose minimal risk."
Minister Simhon added: "Ammonia plays a key role in various industrial processes and other uses in the Israeli market. We will work in tandem with the Environmental Protection Ministry to find a suitable solution. Israel's industries are committed to the public and the environment."
The Zalul Environmental Association and Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav welcomed the decision, and urged the ministries to pursue the depository's relocation without delay.
Ahiya Raved contributed to this report