COWDENBEATH MSP, Annabelle Ewing, has asked SEPA’s Chief Executive why monitoring of the Fife Ethylene Plant did not swing into action on Friday October 27 as flaring got underway.
Ms Ewing, received a reply from her letter to Terry A’Hearn, Chief Executive of SEPA, regarding the recent flaring incident at ExxonMobil’s Mossmorran Fife Ethylene Plant.
Ms Ewing has written back to Mr A’Hearn and speaking about her response on Thursday Ms Ewing said: “I am grateful to Mr A’Hearn for his prompt response to the questions I raised with him regarding the recent incidence of flaring at ExxonMobil’s Fife Ethylene Plant.
“Mr A’Hearn informs me that SEPA was first notified about the controlled shutdown of the plant by the company on Friday October 27 and that flaring was a necessary and normal part of the safety system for this event.
“He went on to say that while this would not warrant a formal investigation or active monitoring by SEPA, as required by the permit conditions, the operator will be required to supply SEPA with an investigation report. I have asked Mr A’Hearn whether this report will this be publicly available?”
He added that SEPA had been in daily contact with the company about what action was being taken to minimise impacts. He said that ExxonMobil had been issuing updates themselves and had indicated when they expect to re-start the plant and to stop the flaring.
Ms Ewing went on: “It had originally been anticipated that the flaring would come to an end on Sunday October 29 but in his letter to me, Mr A’Hearn said that SEPA were then advised that flaring should end by the date of his letter which was the Tuesday.
“The SEPA Chief Executive told me that should flaring continue beyond that date then they would carry out some active monitoring. I have asked him to clarify why SEPA did not put that active monitoring in place from October 27″.
Ms Ewing concluded: “I would have thought that in light of recent concerns raised with SEPA by local people, the organisation would have taken the opportunity to do so.
“I will continue to monitor this situation closely”