'Haifa residents are not guinea pigs'

Deputy Environmental Protection Minister says Haifa Chemicals needs to find a solution, refutes claim ammonia tanks aren't dangerous.

Hezki Baruch ,

Haifa industrial area (file).
Haifa industrial area (file).
Flash 90

Deputy Environmental Protection Minister Yaron Mazuz (Likud) spoke to Arutz Sheva about Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to delay emptying the Haifa ammonia tank.

Haifa's ammonia tank, which is being closed by a court order. Netanyahu requested to delay the site's closure by a few weeks in order to find a solution which will prevent thousands of employees from being fired.

"The decision is currently up to the courts," Mazuz said. "We requested an extension so that the ammonia factory can continue providing critical ammonia to the necessary sites. I don't see any problem, and I am happy the Prime Minister and Prime Minister's Office Director-General Eli Groner saw fit to intervene."

"I am happy they see the issue in 'macro' and want the best for 4,000 employees who need salaries until the new ammonia tank is built in Israel's south.

"There are two things here. There's the ammonia tank, and there's Haifa Chemicals. The ones who have consistently failed are Haifa Chemicals, who want to go back in time, and they can't. I think they need to find a solution so they do not harm their employees and do not harm Haifa area residents."

Regarding the fact that "there are factories like Haifa's all over the world, but they do not harm the environment," Mazuz said, "We have researched the issue, and such factories are proven to be dangerous."

"We will not turn Israeli civilians, and residents of Haifa and the area around it, into guinea pigs."

On Tuesday, opposition MK Yael Cohen-Paran (Zionist Union) on Twitter compared the Haifa ammonia tanks to Nazi gas chambers. Responses varied from "did someone hack our account" to suggesting she "get rid of" the "embarrassing tweet."