Ignoring Protest Demonstration and Initiated Criminal Case Yeghvard Community Municipality Issued Positive Opinion to Oil Processing Submitted by ArmOil

Ignoring Protest Demonstration and Initiated Criminal Case Yeghvard Community Municipality Issued Positive Opinion to Oil Processing Submitted by ArmOil

EcoLur

On 10 July Yeghvard Community Municipality issued a positive opinion to the EIA of 'ArmOil' oil-processing and bitumen production project.

Nati neighborhood residents were holding a protest demonstration in parallel with the public hearings progressing in the community municipality at the entrance to Yeghvard, where the almost-constructed plant is located.

People holding posters saying 'We Don't Want To Breathe in Oil', 'Off Our Orchards', 'Criminal Indifference', 'Where is Our Nature Protection Ministry', 'Selecting Life Instead of Oil' and chanting 'ArmOil, Go Away' blocked Yeghvard-Yerevan highway. The problem is that the plant is located near to their houses and orchards. The locals raised the issue of their life and health and declared they can't live next to such a hazardous production. Besides, their opinions haven't been taken into consideration when constructing this plant.

The opinions of the residents were not taken into consideration this time as well. The hall of the public hearings was occupied mainly by 'ArmOil' CJSC employees. It's noteworthy that without having the public hearings finished, the still-not-drawn minutes of the public hearings mentioned approving this activity as an outcome of the hearings. Besides, the text of the protocol mentioned plants and not a plant.

Even the circumstance was ignored that around a month ago, Department of Protection of State Interests of Public Prosecutor's Office issued a statement saying that Yeghvard Municipality officials falsified permit papers in 2015 to allow ArmOil to build the plant. The statement mentioned incorrect information on the actual volume of construction, which resulted in the permission of building an oil reprocessing plant without any environmental impact assessment and inspection. The preliminary investigation into the criminal case is underway.

No environmental impact assessment has been carried out to construct the plant, as it was presented it didn't exceed 1500 sq.m. 'This land area used to be 5000 sq.m., a change was made in the mape during receiving the construction permit, it was made 1360 sq.m. out of 1500 sq.m. in order not to have any need for environmental impact assessment. The land area used to have a building in, it was removed,' Alfred Abedi commented.

He stated that the company has two more shareholders, Gagik Tsarukyan  - Leader of 'Tsarukyan' Alliance of RA National Assembly and Iranian of Armenian origin Henrik Ter-Ghukasyan. Under him, the previous government posed artificial obstacles for the operation of the company, while Gagik Tsarukyan supported the company.

What about the risks arising from the operation of the plant and the alarm signals of the residents, the executive director claimed, 'It is a green production in line with the international standards. There won't by any petroleum, only oil, so we won't have any wastes and emissions at all. There won't be any smoke or gas, nothing like that.'

Nevertheless, the project submitted at the public hearings says, 'Heated air is used during the preparation of bitumen types, which interacts with the raw materials of the bitumen and result in the generation of emissions containing organic substances.' According to this document, the plant will annually process 50,000 tons of raw material of oil and 60,000 tons of bitumen raw materials. The emitted hazardous materials are hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, solid particles and nitrogen oxides. Under the project, the plant area will be 2.8 ha.

The employees of 'Rival' LLC orchards located in immediate vicinity to the plant also joined the protest demonstration, 'If the plant operates, we will lose our orchards, working places and harvest,' they said.

The policemen were also on the spot of the protest demonstration. The residents negatively responded to Nairi Police Division Acting Head Ashot Nersisyan's call to unblock the road. The five-hour-long protest demonstration finished when Kotayq Regional Deputy Head Vasak Vardanyan visited the scene and promised to examine the issues they raised.

12:35 July 11, 2018


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