Irresponsible Environmental Control

Thursday, October 10, 2013
By Louise Powell

Zapatero’s Government gave the go ahead for a project without an accompanying environmental-impact study in 2009 – today, the area is rocked by earth tremors and minor earthquakes… We’re talking about Proyecto Castor.

So what and where is Proyecto Castor? Just off the coast of Castellón y Tarragona you will see a rig, however it is not for drilling, but for injecting huge quantities of gas into and empty oil well. The logic behind it is to provide Strategic Artificial Storage for natural gas in case the country has any problems importing it for whatever reason.

The storage, the fifth biggest in Spain is capable of storing the equivalent of 50 days supply on a national level; i.e., 1,900 million cubic metres of natural gas… or is it?

Gas injection began in April 2012 and that same month the first earthquake was felt in the area, registering 3.1 on the Richter Scale. However, since mid September this year the coastal towns have been rocked by over 100 earth tremors and quakes. On the 1st of October a 4.2 quake shook up the inhabitants of neighbouring Alcanar, Benicarl, Peñíscola and Vinaroz. And this, even after gas injections were ceased on the 16th of September. Things have since quietened down.

How the previous Government thought that it was OK to give the green light to this kind of operation without an environmental impact study beggars belief and there will be considerable political comeback on this.

(News: Castellon/Tarragona, Spain)

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