Despite the fact that the magistrate of the Court of Instruction number 1 of Tarragona, Sofía Beltrán, has opened a judicial investigation to determine if Iqoxe made alleged illegal discharges into the sea, this Wednesday the Government has denied these facts and defends that the environmental inspections carried out between 2014 and 2019 in the company in the southern area “did not indicate any risk of the explosion” that occurred on January 14, 2020 and that killed three people.
This has been stated in a parliamentary commission by the secretary of Climate Action of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Anna Barnadas, who emphasizes that “the ACA report denies” the indications pointed out by the judge, who analyzes whether “the type of products that were made prevented the purification of all the waste through the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP)». Regarding this, Lucas Ferro (ECP) shows his opposition to Barnadas’ words, asking himself «why is the judge investigating these alleged spills if this was part of the inspections of her department? Has the Government failed?
During her appearance at the Parc de la Ciutadella, the high-ranking official of the regional administration has detailed that, in 2019 – a few months before the incident –, the Government made a report of “non-environmental adaptation” to Iqoxe. In fact, Barnadas specifies that, since 2014, the company received up to four unfavorable documents from Medi Ambient technicians, although he relativizes this circumstance. “The reasons for the non-compliance were minor and did not foresee anything of what happened later. If we had appreciated that there was a risk of explosion, this would not have remained in a report, but rather a sanctioning file would have been opened, “says Barnadas, who emphasizes that the deficits that were found “were reviewed”, so “there were no reasons to suspend the environmental authorization». Junts and ERC, which govern the Generalitat, maintain a low profile and are committed to implementing “measures to improve information and transparency” and “guarantee that scheduled inspections are carried out,” according to Carles Castillo (ERC).
Discomfort in CUP, ECP and PSC
The assessment of the representative of the Government has not pleased the CUP and En Comú Podem, who accuse Barnadas of “having the same discourse as the company and the sector”, recalling that “the citizens of Tarragona have the perception of insecurity with chemistry” after the fatal accident 27 months ago, according to cupaire Laia Estrada. In this sense, the representative of the Government denies the majority and assures that “the data tells us that this perception does not correspond to the real risk and danger.”
As if that were not enough, the high regional office also distances itself from the commitment of the Tarragona City Council to carry out its own independent study of air quality. “Now we have up to ten stations that analyze air quality continuously. The surveillance network is very powerful », she affirms in reference to the current control carried out by the Generalitat. After these words, Estrada lamented that “the petrochemical risk is trivialized and the political collusion and opacity that exists is evident.”
The PSC does not leave satisfied of the commission either. “Issues such as the measures implemented since the accident or the economic resources that have been allocated have not been answered,” laments Silvia Paneque (PSC), while Marina Bravo (Cs) demands “the implementation of Plaseqta” to “guarantee safety” . Two years after the tragedy, the reality is that there are more questions than ever… and the perception of not having any certainty.