Mossmorrans Catastrophic Emissions and Flares Demand Urgent Motion
The fight for environmental justice at Exxon Mobil’s plant at Mossmorran in Fife is heating up with growing local protests and FOI’s revealing the oil giant plans for an enclosed ground flare (EGF) at Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP). Local activists have discovered that the Scottish Government are giving Exxon private permissions whilst publicly pretending they are taking action.
Linda Holt from the Mossmorran Action Group has said: “What Exxon’s application shows is a major investment in a plant and proof that both Exxon and the Scottish Government have no plans to wind down its operations anytime soon. Paul Wheelhouse gave Exxon’s investment the green light in a private meeting on 12 September 2019 (we did an FOI) so it’s no surprise at all that the Scottish Government has refused to set up a Just Transition Board for Mossmorran in response to Mark Ruskell’s motion a few months ago that they do so.”
This was the fourth period of unscheduled elevated flaring at the plant in 2020, was followed by an extended period of ground flare operation and has prompted weekly protests of growing numbers of residents outside the plant.
Council will also urge the IJB and NHS Fife to act to fill the gaps identified in its 2019 report on the health impacts of flaring at Mossmorran, and in particular to set up a dedicated facility to record and monitor the flaring related health complaints of residents.”
Mossmorran represents a twin tragedy. On the one hand it is a traumatic experience for local people effecting mental and physical health. On the other hand it represents an astonishing environmental hazard.
The impact has been described as “catastrophic”.
In 2018 it was reported to have emitted 885,580 tonnes of carbon dioxide (20 Polluters that Will Have to Radically Change if Scotland is Going to Meet Its Climate Goals), being beaten only by the Petroineos refinery at Grangemouth and Longannet power station in Fife.
The ongoing crisis at Scotland’s worst polluter is now a test of the Scottish Government’s environmental credibility. Does its Just Transition project mean anything at all? Can Exxon just act endlessly with complete impunity? Does the health of a local community mean nothing?
As we enter the year of the #COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, this state of affairs will become an international embarrassment for the Scottish Government and it’s beleaguered and discredited regulator.
All photo credits: Derek Johnstone