The EPA's management, inspection, monitoring and enforcement regime is in tatters, according to Labour Senator John Whelan.
Ina statement following last week's Prime Time Investigates into oily fumes emanating from the Enva oil recycling plant in Clonminam, Senator Whelan said public confidence in the EPA was completely shot.
“The public confidence in and the credibility of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is completely shot following last night's Prime Time investigation.
“What is even more worrying is that the EPA continue to defend and try to cover-up their litany of failures and seem to think that a dab of perfume, perhaps ‘Old Spice’, will make these odorous emissions in Portlaoise evaporate,” he said.
Senator Whelan said this was not just an odour or air quality issue.
“It has been independently confirmed and corroborated that the process emissions from the Enva plant contain toxins, carcinogenic chemicals, and volatile organic compounds which are potentially harmful to the public health. The EPA have to wake up, smell and taste the emissions. This is not simply an odour or air quality issue.”
“Enva have now pledged on the court record to invest €1m to install the best available technology. As recently as last July both the EPA and Enva insisted that this was not necessary and they were squeaky clean.”
Labour's General Election Candidate said Enva was needed but they had to clean up their act.
“Enva need to urgently clean up their act and the Minister for the Environment must ensure that the EPA get their house in order,”
He continued: “We need to recycle waste oil. We need plants such as Enva to do so in a safe and responsible manner for all our sake and the health and safety of all their workers and those living and working in the wider community, and for the sake of our environment.”
Sinn Fin TD, Brian Stanley said he had raised the issue with the EPA as far back as 2011.
“I have been in contact with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as far back as 2011 concerning emissions from the Enva oil recycling plant in Portlaoise.
“There has been a question mark over the level and type of emissions coming from the plant and the methods used to monitor it.”
He continued: “The recent court case has progressed matters in that Enva is now compelled to put mitigation measures in place to reduce emissions and odours. As a local resident and TD I welcome this.
It’s important that in the local community we can have confidence that the EPA is properly monitoring the plant and that it is operating to the highest standards”
Dep Stanley continued: “In the 1970s and 1980s prior to recycling, waste oil was frequently poured down drains, shores and gullies resulting in serious pollution of our rivers and waterways. There can be no return to this type of environmental vandalism
The local TD said it was importantthat to have confidence in the EPA.
“It’s important that in the local community we can have confidence that the EPA is properly monitoring the plant and that it is operating to the highest standards,” he said.