The Israeli Ministry of Energy, together with the state-owned company EAPC (Europe Asia Pipeline Company Ltd., known as “Katza”), are promoting plans [add link in English, R.S] to turn the seaport of Eilat into a giant terminal for oil and liquid gas.
Oil from the Persian Gulf en route to the Mediterranean will be transported through the Eilat bay, while gas extracted in the Mediterranean will be pumped to Eilat where it will be liquefied and exported. Huge oil containers will arrive at Eilat’s bay by the hundreds according to the plan, and transported to the Mediterranean through pipelines running along Israel’s Negev and Arava regions. A new gas pipeline, massive in size, will also be constructed, causing massive harm to environment and landscape.
The plan spells the destruction of Eilat’s coral reef, for the sake of black money which the EAPC and Israel’s Finance Ministry are blindingly seeking out. An oil spill from a tanker or pipeline – whether accidental or intentional – will lead to an environmental disaster the likes of which Israeli citizens have never seen. The construction of the long pipeline will also bring irreversible damage to the environment.
The approaching disaster is not a matter of if, but when. The EAPC is already responsible for a recent and terrible oil spill in the Arava. Back in the 1970s severe harm was caused to the corals of the Red Sea by another oil disaster. Oil-related calamities across the world point to the magnitude of this catastrophe if the plan were to go ahead.
Sign this petition today: Together we will stop oil and gas from taking over Eilat’s bay.
Black money = Black future.
We call upon the Finance Minister, MP. Israel Katz, the Environmental Protection Minister MP Gila Gamliel, and Energy Minister MP Yuval Steinitz to immediately halt these dangerous plans of expanding oil and gas lines. If executed they will wipe out the corals in the Red Sea, put at risk the public health of the residents of Eilat, Ashkelon and Ashdod, and jeopardize tourism in Eilat and the region. The consequences cannot be stressed enough: Oil contamination could occur along Israel’s Mediterranean shores, in the Mediterranean, in the Red Sea, and along the pipelines of oil and gas running along the Arava and Negev regions.
Environmental organizations and activists are taking action to stop these dangerous plans, which are an unimaginable and unreasonable risk to us and to future generations. An Israel where beaches are no longer part of life cannot be the future we leave for our children.
Sign the petition and be part of the struggle!
According to the agreement between the EAPC and UEA every month dozens of huge tankers will discharge oil and distillate oil [??] at the EAPC dock, located by the Eilat Coral Beach Nature Reserve. Oil will be transported through old pipelines running along the Arava and Negev regions to the Ashkelon port, and from there transported by oil tankers across Europe.
The agreement exposes the joint bay of Eilat (Israel) and Aqaba (Jordan), as well as the shoreline in Sinai (Egypt), to the colossal threat of oil spills, whether accidental or intentional. It also places in jeopardy areas along the route of the pipelines and the shores of the Mediterranean. A disaster is only a matter of time.
Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry is ill prepared for handling oil calamities. Immense harm could be caused to the coral reef – a rare natural gem – as well as the tourism industry. Israel, Jordan and Egypt have each invested hundreds of millions of dollars in constructing thousands of hotel rooms and new airports. These and other efforts will be in vain in the event of severe water contamination, which will ruin the beautiful beaches and keep tourists away.
The coral reef at the northern tip of the Red Seas is a unique natural phenomenon. The corals’ genetics make them immune to bleaching and climate change effects, hence their significance not just locally but also globally. The corals are our underwater tropical forests, a tourist attraction situated at the heart of the region’s natural world. Oil spills spell their extinction.
Several natural disasters have already occurred along EAPC’s pipeline between Eilat and Askelon, recently in Evrona and beforehand in Zin river and elsewhere. Increasing the amount of oil transported through the pipeline exposes nature reserves and other sensitive territories to oil contamination, which nature may not recover from. In the 1970s the oil terminal that operated then in Eilat caused heavy damages to the coral reef.
The plan will jeopardies the shorelines of the Mediterranean. It is not only Ashdod and Ashkelon that could be harmed but, depending on the size of the oil spill, on weather conditions and on streams, it could hit other shorelines as well. A severe event of contamination will also cause damage to water desalination plants, which are today Israel’s main source of water. Thousands of businesses located along the shore depend on clean marine waters too. The additional number of oil tankers may cause “traffic jams” near Eilat and along Sinai’s beaches. Residents and tourists in Eilat and Ashkelon could suffer from air pollution and bad odors released from the oil’s storage and transportation.
Only a few months ago a natural disaster occurred near the shores of Mauritius, where an oil tanker sank. We must not allow a similar disaster to take place in the Red Sea, nor in the Mediterranean. Help us protect the coral reefs, turn Eilat into a global powerhouse of solar energy (and not a fossil fuel hub), and protect the Mediterranean and Israel’s southern countryside.
Constructing a gas pipeline to Eilat will halt plans to convert Eilat and the Arava region to 100% solar energy. Instead of relying on the endless sunlight in the area it will create a dependency on gas, a fossil fuel. At the edge of the pipeline a liquefaction plant is planned for the purpose of exporting gas. It will pollute the air in Eilat, damage public health, and negatively affect the water qualities that are crucial for the protection of the corals.
Israel’s National Planning and Building Council is currently holding discussions over a plan to construct a huge 36 inch gas pipeline, which will cost the taxpayers 700 million shekels. The gas pipeline route from Ashkelon to Eilat passes through the Negev mountain, the craters, Evrona and Eilat mountains. A liquefaction plant will need to be constructed in Eilat so that gas could be exported in tankers. Even though the plant is an essential component, it is at present missing from the plan – a sign of the lack of transparency characterizing this huge project. The liquefaction plant is expected to be constructed near the beach and close to residential areas, and will cause heavy air pollution and public health risks.
Construction of a gas pipeline to and from Eilat will be a fatal blow to the advance efforts toward turning the entire region to full relay on solar energy in sunny Eilat and the Arava, and turning the region into a global leader in solar energy solutions. Developing gas dependency in the region will have a negative impact for generations to come.
Though it is commonly described as ‘natural gas’, it is made 98% from Methane, a potent green house gas that when leaked accelerates the climate crisis. Across the world efforts are underway to reduce gas dependency and use it cautiously as a transitional means only until full reliance on renewable energies is achieved.
One false claim being made is that reliance on gas will cut down electricity bills for the residents as well as the hotels of Eilat and the area. However, today clean solar energy is cheaper than gas. It is also far less dangerous and polluting, and does not involve reliance on a monopolistic player. The only financial argument that can be made is regarding revenues from the export of liquefied gas, however the price is operating a dangerous and polluting liquefaction plant in Eilat.
If development of local industry in Eilat and the Arava region requires some limited use of gas for energy, it could be imported from Egypt through the Aqaba bay by an existing pipeline located 11 kilometers from Eilat. This is a much cheaper solution that doesn’t involve such environmental damage. It will also strengthen Israel’s ties with Jordan and Egypt.
The 700 million shekels that the government wishes to spend should be invested in real sustainable development leverages. These include ocean bio-technology (while safeguarding marine life from chemical and biological contamination), hi-tech, water-based solutions, clean energy infrastructure, tourism, agriculture, and more.
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