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Evrona oil spill: How much will it cost us and the environment?

Over 31,000 barrels of crude oil gushed into the southern desert, fouling the sensitive Evrona nature reserve, when a major pipeline was breached in December 2014.  

 

  

PUTTING A PRICE TAG ON THE EVRONA OIL SPILL: OVER HALF A BILLION SHEKELS!

 

According to our economic assessment*, based on the U.S. EPA’s economic model, the environmental, economic and social damages caused by the oil spill amount to a staggering 526.8 million NIS ($138 million) – far from the government’s estimate of tens of millions of shekels.

 

A GROUNDBREAKING ASSESSMENT


“It’s the first time in Israel that someone has looked at the whole picture following an environmental disaster," says Tammy Ganot, head of our Marine Management program. "This groundbreaking assessment reflects our core values. We believe that environmental damages must relate to the long-term socio-economic impacts on Israel’s citizens as well as the ecological damages and clean-up costs.

 

It is not just a question of fixing the broken pipeline, remediating the contaminated soil, v’zehu, end of story. The damage to the Evrona nature reserve – a precious public asset – goes much deeper. It affects all of us and not only the wildlife, neighboring residents and those who visit the reserve. The unique reserve, which is part of Israel’s collection of natural beauties, was badly damaged. This damage harms Israel’s cultural image and identity and all of us are paying the price.”


PREVENTING FUTURE DISASTERS


“It is crucial to determine how much disasters of this kind truly cost the public and the environment,” explains Tammy. “When the State underestimates the cost of environmental damages, it means that less funds and resources are allocated to prevent future disasters. As we promote our Marine Management Bill, this unprecedented assessment lays the groundwork to ensure that we accurately evaluate external liabilities so that Israel can effectively deal with future environmental crises or, better yet, stop them in their tracks.” 


THE NEXT STEP


1. In the courts: Our economic assessment will help strengthen class action lawsuits filed by citizen groups who were affected by the oil spill.
2. In the Knesset: We will present our findings before the Knesset’s Finance Committee as its members discuss the future of the oil company, Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC).

 

Read more about the oil disaster here.


* The economic assessment was prepared in collaboration with Adalya Consulting & Management & the Samuel Neaman Institute for National Policy Research.

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