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High court rules 5-2 on natural gas policy: Petitioners are disappointed but not defeated

“We are obviously disappointed with the ruling, however we are not giving up” says Adv. Dana Tabachnik in response to the Supreme Court’s rejection of our petition against the exclusion of the Knesset in determining gas export policies.

 

“We will make sure that these resources are used responsibly and strategically through alternative legislative channels”.

 

Dana Tabachnik & Amit Bracha in court

 

Dana, head of our Economy & Environment department, has ardently appealed the closed-door Government decision since it was passed in June 2013. As she argued her case before the esteemed seven-judge panel of Supreme Court Justices, her unwavering conviction in her claims was tangible. In a case in which many of the players are woozy from the anticipated fortunes from the gas royalties, Dana’s appreciation of the value of the nation’s limited, and overburdened, natural resources to the Israeli public  is a sobering perspective.


The Court’s majority vote to uphold the Cabinet’s export policy reinforces our role in safeguarding Israeli’s energy and economic future to the long-term benefit of the Israeli public and industry.
Although the outcome of the petition was not ideal, we still see ourselves as victors in the struggle to preserve Israel’s natural gas for the local market. Our interventions throughout the last year have compelled the Prime Minister to lower the export quota from 53% to 40%, guaranteeing that the majority of the reserves will be earmarked for domestic use.


“The rightful owners of these natural assets, the citizens of Israel, are left out in the cold. Corporate moguls are reaping the benefits at their expense. What’s worse is that the Government entitles them to do so, disregarding open public debate and government accountability -fundamental democratic processes which define our State”.


Adam Teva V’Din is determined to continue to set the principles for the responsible management of our energy economy.


“The State has a poor track record in managing the country’s natural resources, the State Comptroller attested to this in his latest report”, says Amit Bracha, Executive Director. “A striking example is the longstanding government decision to produce 5% of Israel’s electricity from renewable sources by 2016. To date, renewable energy production has yet to reach even 1%”.

 

Renewable energy production in Israel is currently below 1%

 

Dana and our team believe that we can restore the optimism for a sustainable energy economy by clearly allocating at a high percentage of the gas royalties towards clean energy investments.


Experience has taught us that without clearly defined purposes, there is a real danger that the royalties will be used to cover budget deficits or to bankroll the government whim-of-the-day. “It is in the best interest of the Israeli public, present and future” says Tabachnik, “to invest the substantial proceeds in the development of renewable and cost-efficient energy sources, such as solar and wind power. What is taken from the environment should be rightfully returned to the environment”.

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