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The Jerusalem District Committee for Planning and Construction rejected the oil shale experiment in the Yehuda Lowlands. Opinion - the victory of reason over force

Mor Gilboa, CEO of Green Trend: "It's time to invest budgets in renewable energies instead of question marks"

Demonstrators against the IEI oil shale project in the Adolim region, in front of the meeting of the District Committee for Planning and Construction in Jerusalem, September 2, 2014. Photo: Green Trend
Demonstrators against the IEI oil shale project in the Adolim region, in front of the meeting of the District Committee for Planning and Construction in Jerusalem, September 2, 2014. Photo: Green Trend

Yesterday (Tuesday) the District Committee for Planning and Construction in Jerusalem convened for a fateful meeting in order to decide whether to allow the start of the oil shale experiment. Following the public protest, the opposition of the residents of Emek Elah and the counterarguments of the environmental organizations - at the end of the day the committee decided by a majority of 13 to 1, and another 2 refrained from allowing the existence of the pilot due to the possibility of the experiment being successful, its danger to public health due to air pollution - oil production Oil shale pollutes more than the known methods of production and the environmental destruction that can be caused to the Judean Lowlands, which is an archaeological, touristic and agricultural asset.

The Minister of Environmental Protection, MK Amir Peretz, who led the opposition: "This is an important day for the environment and for the citizens of Israel who have regained one of the most beautiful and touristic areas in Israel. This is also an important day especially for our children who can be sure that Israel's natural resources are being preserved and can be used by them in the future if needed. We must not do dangerous experiments that could endanger the health, the environment and the energy security of future generations. This is an important victory of the next generation in whose name we spoke.'

Ofer Berkovich, committee member and deputy mayor of Jerusalem: "I opposed the existence of the project because it is still in its infancy and is not true: a real danger of environmental damage to the water and air and a mismatch between the proposed pilot and the final one"

Mor Gilboa, CEO of Green Trend: "A brave and just decision - I'm glad that our warnings did not fall on deaf ears - it's time for the budgets to be invested in renewable energies and not in question marks"
Attorney David Shomron, representing IEI, said this morning at the committee meeting: "With all due respect, the Ministry of Environmental Protection is prohibited from expressing a position that contradicts the decision of the Water Authority that allowed the drilling. It is not appropriate for one government office to contradict and go against the state's decision. With all due respect". It should be noted that the Water Authority belongs to the Ministry of Energy and Water, which was a partner in initiating the plan and even took over planning powers under the Petroleum Law in order to advance and bypass the planning and construction institutions.

Opinion - the victory of reason over force

Besides the victory for Teva, this is an important precedent, that entrepreneurs cannot exert unfair pressure, which included hiring lobbyists, a controversial influence on the media, but especially the disdainful treatment of the residents stood out when in 2010 the journalist Aviv Lavi revealed in Maariv that One morning Moshav Adrat residents of the Adulam region discovered drilling on their land, . At the same time, January 2010, the environmentalists did not try to intervene because the developers and the Ministry of Energy led by then Minister Uzi Landau bypassed the planning authorities where they could express themselves, through the Petroleum Law and the taking of planning powers by the Ministry.

Haaretz correspondent Avner Hofstein points out in this context that the workers at the site refused to explain to the residents what it was all about, and only The Bedouin guard explained to them that it was some billionaire from the USA who was looking for oil. Hofstein said these things at the Pratt Award ceremony for the article he published a few months earlier about the project and the extraordinary pressures exerted by the entrepreneurs (divide and rule).

And in the meantime, evidence is accumulating from around the world about the risk of FRACKING methods - a method used in the USA to extract oil and gas shale. Even if the technology proposed in Israel is slightly different from it, the damages may be similar - fuel leakage into the aquifer and contamination of the groundwater. It was even published in the journal Science that the phenomenon may be accelerated in the case of earthquakes, even distant ones.

In the same article I asked for IEI's response and they claimed there that there is a difference between oil shale and shale oil and therefore what we read about the objections and risks in the US are not relevant to Israel. Today it was proven that these things are relevant and how else.

In the same context, see a series of articles by Scientific American on the subject,Advance science to drilling(including records of a visit to the IEI offices and a conversation with their experts)Hot earth in their world).

Perhaps the sensitivity of the members of the committee following the Holyland affair, and perhaps due to the maturation of the Israeli public, and the fact that the resistance is shared by government ministries, local authorities and green movements and not only residents who suffer from the NIMBY phenomenon (RAT in English - not in my backyard), managed to make the decision makers make a decision that I would be grateful for The truth is, I didn't think it would be accepted following the publications regarding the behavior of the entrepreneurs. According to the media blitz in recent days, it seemed that the Force would win again.

Even if we start from the assumption that the members of society will not give up easily and exhaust the government offices and the residents in additional courts, perhaps this huge gap in the number of votes will also convince the members of the National Planning and Construction Council, that after all the residents are occasionally right.

By the way, in front of the demonstrators, the members of the green movements stood a few demonstrators on behalf of the new liberal movement - a movement that unites the Israeli libertarians, those who do not want government involvement so that every entrepreneur can do as he wishes. According to them, the oil saved the lives of whales who previously used their blubber for light. Everything is fine and dandy, as I wrote in the response on their Facebook page, But today technology makes it possible to go one step further and meet the energy needs from clean sources, but apparently those clean sources do not contain something important to the oil gods - a supply chain from drilling, refining to the power plant. In contrast, solar radiation reaches the power plant directly. Perhaps the decision will encourage the Ministry of Energy to stop sticking sticks in the wheels of clean alternative energy and thus this push by the Planning and Construction Committee will help to wean the Israeli energy economy from oil.

In any case, this is good news for future generations: we also left oil for you, in the hope that you will not need it and will get most of your energy needs from the sun.

12 תגובות

  1. Fracking is not relevant in any way to the underground extraction method of the pilot in question, and any attempt to compare the two is cheap and misplaced demagoguery.

    The oil certainly saved the whales. Associations for the protection of whales existed even before oil, and the whales were dying out. When the new oil tycoons came into the picture, they funded the associations for the protection of the whales, changed public opinion by 180 degrees and turned the whale into a wonderful animal that everyone wants to protect.
    Until before oil, people looked at whales the way most people nowadays look at cows or tuna - creatures that are meant solely for our pleasures, purposes and benefit.

    (Disclosure: I am not a geologist, I am submitting an academic paper on the pilot as part of a geology degree)

    PS: The photo on the Greenpeace struggle website, which compares a photo of the Elah Valley to a photo of open-pit mining in the Rotem area, is also cheap demagoguery that has nothing to do with the issue. This is not mining, the ground extraction method does not involve any digging. I really hate such things. They could just as easily put a picture of a disabled child from Africa.

  2. Tomer Thanks for the tease.
    But the answer to the need for this project lies in your words. Technologies will take more time to mature.
    Until then, we should be the oil bookkeepers and not buy it from our friends in the Mazat.
    I understand it's a matter of perspective.
    I claim that no one knows how to say because it is at the expense of the future.
    Although field, logging and laboratory tests indicate that this is a suitable geological structure for this type of production, people choose to drop the project based on unscientifically based fear!
    I hope that the conditions will mature so that someday there will be a pilot to test the opportunity to produce from this reservoir.
    I know that your opinion and the opinion of a large and educated public is solid and logical, but it takes more than that to make far-reaching assertions that the area will become an ugly industrial area (this is simply not true!).

  3. to the geologist.
    I think the main problem is your hearing.
    There are electric planes.
    Even airplanes that use solar energy.
    A power plant that uses fusion - under construction in France (experimental project that uses Sakhorov's method)
    So true, these technologies will take 20 30 years to mature.
    In the meantime we will continue to use oil (how much is left in 100 years?)
    Oil shale is easy and fast money, at the expense of the future.
    We are lucky that the project was shelved.

  4. I'm sorry to spoil the joy. This is a severe blow that I hope they will recover from and return to exploring the possibility of producing oil from the reservoir.
    Last time I checked, I haven't heard of airplanes, power plants or an army (!!!) that can subsist on renewable energies. I don't know at all about the possibility that there will be an alternative to the public and private transportation of an entire country, even if it is relatively small. I'm not against them God forbid, I just know that it will be a long time before we can use renewable energies so widely (if at all).
    Wherever you spit you will find power struggles. In every body one can find politics and the possibility of capital-government relations.
    But we are in Israel. It's good that we have gas reserves, no doubt, but we need a lot more fuel than that. If there is an opportunity to move from a state of wasteful consumers to producers and exporters of excellent quality oil, we must explore this possibility to the end. That's why you need a pilot! Not an industrial production, a pilot. A small website like all the websites of the Mekorot company, for example, where a different process takes place. From my (very thorough) knowledge of the geology of the area, it sounds improbable to me that pollutants would leak into the Yartan aquifer. You have to keep checking, not ignore but keep checking. Do not torpedo but keep checking.
    I hope that if the project is canceled it will be based on scientific findings and not on the claim that "we are not Russia to be the laboratory/ guinea pigs of the oil and gas world". This is not a reason.

    And by the way, just for general knowledge - shale is a fine-grained sedimentary rock. Not slate (a.k.a. schist, slate). Kerogen is not shale, it is a solid organic material that is formed completely naturally. When organic matter sinks (in an aqueous environment) and is not decomposed by oxygen, it is buried in the bottom and undergoes biological decomposition into kerogen and bitumen. The kerogen is solid and when heated it turns into oil and gas. The bitumen is a type of liquid with a very high viscosity (according to the bitumen sands in Alberta).

  5. The claim that the oil saved the whales is a false claim that came to both cover up the failures of the oil rigs scattered in the seas and oceans, and also to confuse those who do not know history well. First of all, the use of whale oil for lighting is common only among the peoples of the North who hunt whales for food. And they were few. Most people used dong candles which were easy to carry and recycle. And as for the oil drilling in the sea. I have no idea why no one publishes a study on the subject (and maybe they did, but I didn't see it) but every worker on such a rig can tell about oil leaks that destroy vegetation and fishing in areas of hundreds of kilometers, not to mention explosions that are made on the sea floor to search for the oil deposits, which change the entire marine structure.

  6. to Ephraim (and in general)
    The foreign term for shale is kerogen or shale
    If oil was not involved in the story, the accepted Hebrew name for shale would be
    In the present case the slates/shales are saturated with organic remains in a natural process
    would have turned into oil/petroleum in a few million years,
    Hence the name oil shale
    The proposed procedure is to heat the shale and thus accelerate the process,
    To Doron
    The environmental risk (even in the case of experimental production) is groundwater pollution,
    And if (God forbid) the project is approved, there will be pollution of the entire environment:
    Air pollution, pollution due to the movement of heavy vehicles, pollution of agricultural lands,
    Scenic pollution!
    Yesterday (even before the committee's decision) Efi-Itam said that:
    "In the USA, production attempts were made using the proposed method
    But because of the low price of oil
    They did not continue with commercial production"...
    is that so ?
    Efi forgot to mention that the experiments were stopped due to public pressure
    created due to the fear of environmental damage,
    This time the copying of the American case is positive and correct.

  7. "In the same article, I asked for IEI's response and they claimed there that there is a difference between oil shale and shale oil, and therefore what we read about the objections and risks in the US are not relevant to Israel. Today it was proven that these things are relevant and how." - I didn't understand what exactly was proven. The two methods are completely different in fracking they use pressure, in the Yehuda lowland they want to use heat. Besides, contrary to what is written, the decision impairs Israel's energy security. The project is an experimental project, not a commercial production, so as long as the experiment is not carried out, this resource cannot be used. The only logical argument I've heard against the production of oil in the Judean Lowlands is the fear of pollution, but to determine if this fear is justified you need to check things and that is exactly why the project needs to be approved.

  8. Avi:
    Regarding the oil shale / oil shale. Do you have any idea what the relevant terms are in English?
    It is clear that such technical topics in order to have a chance to understand what it is about, you need to look for the relevant term and not a strange translation.
    And another issue is the production method, which is not directly related to the type of deposit. They talked about using an experimental method related to heating the ground which is supposed to be better than 'fracking', but it is of course experimental and there can be many unexpected problems. But there is no guarantee that they will not use 'fracking'.

  9. I think that the Prime Minister should indeed wave at the committee and declare the project as a project of strategic importance. If only because the committee did not offer any positive way to move forward with the project and preferred to block it (for example, they should have offered a willingness to consider a more limited plan, stricter monitoring, the investment of the government's financial return in cleaning contaminated aquifers, etc.) No positive thought was visible on the horizon, only demagoguery and slander of The green movements and the clericalism that reached a surprising conformity of thought.

  10. For the sake of setting things straight, I and two friends stood there in a counter-demonstration and not "demonstrators on behalf of the new liberal movement" a total of 3 demonstrators. Everyone will judge whether it is happy or sad, but the facts cannot be changed - there was no demonstration of the liberal movement.
    Here are the pictures from our demonstration:

    There is also a video from the demonstration that will illustrate to you how the green trend uses school students to produce a demonstration - something that was worth noting.

  11. Bibi will make sure to wave aside the planning and construction committee. What is not yet known is the maneuver he will use for swinging to the side.

    An example of a possible maneuver. Bibi will establish an inter-ministerial committee to discuss the issue, with the help of experts. He is also initiating legislation that will prevent planning and construction committees from interfering with the initiation of projects of strategic importance to the state's economy.

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