Two public forums held on the floating LNG terminal in Omišalj

With the aim of improving the quality of information and public dialogue within the public consultation on the Environmental Impact Study for Floating LNG Terminal, LNG Croatia held public forums in Njivice and Omišalj. The public presentation of the Study will be held on November 15 in Omišalj.

Guided by the principles of ecological democracy, by which environmental problems are best solved by participation of all citizens, with ensured access to information, the company LNG Croatia organized two public panels on the floating LNG Terminal, in Njivice and Omišalj. In organization of public forums, the company LNG Croatia was also guided by comments of certain associations regarding the duration of the public consultation and the number of pages of the Study on the impact of the floating LNG terminal on the environment. The aim of the forums was to bring the project information closer to the local citizens so they can participate more effectively in decision-making on environmental issues. The forums are one of the fastest and simplest ways of direct interaction with the local citizens, which associations often point out as examples of good European practice.

Despite the fact that some of the citizens accepted the invitation of Omišalj Major Mirela Ahmetović to leave the public forum in Njivice with explanation that it “tries to draw the attention away from the official presentation of the Study to be held in a couple of days”, the rest of the audience participated with interest in the public forum which lasted for almost four hours. The project, in particular the reasons for the decision on the phase development of the LNG Terminal, the way the project's economic viability is determined, as well as the benefits for the local community were presented by Andreja Ana Lopac from LNG Croatia. She emphasized that she was aware that the LNG Terminal was the topic for the nth time and that she understood the reasons for the distrust. She also pointed out the realization of the floating LNG Terminal is different as a result of co-financing of the European Union, which through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) not only participates in the financing of the studies with 50%, but also in the purchase of the FSRU vessel, the construction of berths, auxiliary facilities and gas pipeline with almost 30% of the required resources.

The representatives of Ekonerg, the authorized developer of the Environmental Impact Study, briefly introduced the audience with the framework for development of the study and three impacts that caused most public interest: sea cooling, possible anti-fouling treatment and visual impact. The introductory lectures were followed by numerous questions and comments from the audience, raised by environmental experts, seafarers with experience on LNG vessels and engineers from the former Dina Petrokemija. The vast majority of the comments of the audience concerned the economic viability of the terminal, in particular the benefits to the local community. Also discussed were the issues of necessity and feasibility of the phase development of the project, as well as the regasification technology and possibilities of chlorine usage in anti-fouling treatment. Many attendants were interested in the system of monitoring of the impact of the project on the marine environment and air, and there were numerous suggestions for such solutions from many years of international experience of the present process engineers.

The next day, on November 10, another public forum was held in the town hall of the Municipality of Omišalj. Although this event was shorter in duration compared to the first public forum, the aim was the same - to provide information on the LNG terminal project openly and transparently. One of the attendees, commenting on the first and the second day of public forums, said that “it was a shame that some of the attending local citizens left the public forum, because it was the ideal way to learn all they wanted to know about the project, but they could not, since they left the forum”. During both days of public forums, a few of the attendees pointed out that the LNG project was “friendly greeted in the local community” and that “they personally have a positive attitude towards the project”, but the delay in realization and frequent alterations in administrative and project solutions undermined the trust of the local population. For these reasons, it could be heard that residents of Omišalj municipality do not have the impression that it concerns a serious and strategically important project for the Republic of Croatia and the European Union.

Most objections and comments could be heard on the topic of the benefits of the project for the community, so a few attendees requested the presentation of the analysis of the benefits of the project for the local, regional and national level, as well as a more elaborate program for environmental monitoring.

So that providing information to the public would not remain “on paper” only, the company LNG Croatia shall continue to inform the public openly and transparently, invite them to actively participate in the public consultation providing comments and remarks which would improve the quality of the process.

The public consultation shall last until November 28, 2017, and the public presentation of the Environmental Impact Study shall be held on November 15 at 5 pm in the sports hall of the Omišalj Primary School. Apart from the foreseen locations in Omišalj and Rijeka, the study of the impact of the floating terminal on the environment, is available from the first day of the public consultation on the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy in a special section PUO/PUO Procedures 2017 at http://puo.mzoip.hr/hr/puo/puo-postupci-2017.html, as well as on the LNG Croatia website under the News section at http://lng.hr/en/novosti-detalji/pocinje-javna-rasprava-o-plutajucem-lng-terminalu-na-krku-75. The above-mentioned addresses also contain a summary of the Environmental Impact Study in the form of a Non-Technical Summary.

Action "Studies for the LNG terminal Krk FSRU solution" is co-financed by the European Union's Connecting Europe Facility Programme.

Two public forums held on the floating LNG terminal in Omišalj

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