Haifa Bay Refinery to Grow Despite Environmentalist Protests

Oil refineries and Israel Petrochemical Enterprises will be allowed to expand operations despite concerns of air pollution.

The Oil Refineries site in Haifa.
Rami Shllush

Two major plans for storing and refining fuels in the Haifa Bay area were approved this week, even though environmental activists claim it will increase the dangers of air pollution in the region.

The appeals committee of the National Planning and Building Council gave its approval to the plans by the Oil Refineries and Israel Petrochemical Enterprises, who will be allowed to expand their operations.

The committee rejected environmentalists’ claims that it was necessary to reduce production at the site in order to reduce pollution and that the facilities were too close to residential areas. The panel said it was possible expand as long as other means were used not to increase pollution, and the plan provides a proper balance between the need to protect public health and the need for industrial development.

The Haifa municipality said it would fight any decision that didn’t put the interests of city residents before economic interests.