12/24/2012 23:26
Adam Teva V’Din-Israel Union for Environmental Defense had deemed government’s new oil, gas drilling standards insufficient.

The High Court of Justice rejected on Monday morning a petition from environmental activism group Adam Teva V’Din-Israel Union for Environmental Defense that had deemed the government’s new oil and gas drilling standards insufficient.

After the Energy and Water Ministry initiated a new legal framework of environmental standards for exploratory oil and gas drilling, Adam Teva V’Din had filed a petition arguing that these regulations allowed for shortcuts that could bypass certain planning and building procedures.

The High Court decided it would not intervene in these regulations, and ruled that the standards would be deployed in accordance with the government’s official position, the ministry said.

In response to the decision, the Energy and Water Ministry stressed that it would continue to regulate the planning process for gas and oil explorations, with the goal of strengthening the industry and promoting sustainability according to the highest standards in the world.

While Adam Teva V’Din representatives acknowledged that the court did reject the organization’s petition, they said they were pleased to hear the court emphasize certain environmental guidelines to which the state must continue to adhere. All oil and gas exploration will be subject to the instructions of the attorney-general, and there will be no automatic passage from the exploratory stage to the commercial stage in drilling, according to Adam Teva V’Din.

Meanwhile, the court stressed that there should always be an environmental representative in the planning committee, and the period for reviewing environmental issues surrounding the drilling projects should be long and thorough, the organization said.

In response to the court ruling against their petition, Adam Teva V’Din executive director Amit Bracha said that “now the struggle against the dangerous consequences of gas and oil drilling, and oil shale in particular, passes on to the planning committee.”

“We are at the beginning of a new struggle that starts today and aims to prevent possible harm to public health and irreversible damage to the environment,” Bracha added.