MK Alex Kushnir (Yisrael Beitenu), headed by the Knesset Finance Committee approved a mechanism to compensate for industrial waste damages that Rotem Amfert (of ICL Group) caused. The mechanism was proposed by the committee as part of discussions regarding the extension of the phosphate mine concession currently granted to the company.
Rotem Amfert’s plant is responsible for about 80% of the industrial waste generated annually in Israel. The waste has been piling up over decades in the designated stockpiles on the plant’s grounds. It has now reached over 100,000,000 m3 of waste causing soil and groundwater pollution in the plant’s vicinity.
The compensation mechanism is being considered a precondition for the extension of the phosphate-mining concession. Moreover, the committee decided that responsibility “shall be imposed on any party that created the risk and not on the environment and the public” (Galit Cohen, director-general of the Ministry of Environmental Protection). The mechanism’s principles include, among other things, a guarantee of ILS 60 millions. This sum reflects Rotem Amfert’s liability and includes rehabilitation of the mining damages and rehabilitation of the industrial waste damages.
According to this mechanism, the obligation is on Rotem Amfert (and its parent company, ICL Group) to carry out the rehabilitation plans according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s directives as a precondition to receiving its consent to extend Rotem’s concession. These are long-term, expensive rehabilitation works that could take many decades to complete.
This is a precedent-setting method for the rehabilitation on a large scale of environmental damages. It is part of a series Israel is taking to ensure environmental restoration in accordance with the polluter pays rule.[View source.]