I wasn’t surprised to see a letter from the Chair of Burntisland Community Council, Alex MacDonald rushing to the defence of ExxonMobil. Mr MacDonald has been a notable long time apologist for the corporation.
What is shocking though is Mr MacDonald’s complete dismissal of over 900 complaints to SEPA, over 300 reports submitted to the public MAG social impact map, and the dismissal of the 200+ residents that attended the MAG public meeting as ‘reported claims of the activists’.
If he had bothered to attend the meeting, he would have heard some harrowing tales, including the experience of one parent’s desperate attempts to soothe her 10-year-old autistic child who suffered from severe stress and anxiety brought on by the latest bout of emergency flaring. This child suffered endless nights of sleep deprivation, and bed wetting from the terror the family was forced to endure.
Mr MacDonald claims ‘the measurable impact on health is nil’. I can only assume he has access to some magical source of data denied to the mere mortals at NHS Fife.
The fact is NHS Fife has never done any comprehensive studies into the reported stress, sleep deprivation, headaches, sensory impacts and breathing difficulties experienced by residents during emergency flares.
This is precisely why Fife Council and MSPs from all political parties have called on the Scottish Government to conduct an independent expert study into the environmental, social and health impacts arising from the operations at Mossmorran.
But Mr MacDonald thinks he knows best and is in a position to “reassure” residents. Could this have anything at all to do with his cosy relationship with ExxonMobil? His letter fails to disclose that he regularly attends the junkets put on by ExxonMobil to butter up local councillors and politicians. For years, he has accepted ExxonMobil’s invitations to slap-up meals (with unlimited free bar) at the Balbirnie House Hotel and all-expenses paid trips to box office seats at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Six Nations Rugby Match.
As far as I can see, Burntisland Community Council minutes do not record this take-up of corporate hospitality in any declarations of interest by Mr MacDonald, which is surely against the Code of Conduct for community councillors.
Much worse is that Mr MacDonald is a member of the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay Community and Safety Committee where, like Councillor Kathleen Leslie who also finds the time to accept ExxonMobil’s junkets, he is not a regular attendee. When he does attend, he fails to report any community concerns about the plant.
All this shows is that Mr MacDonald is not fit to be a member of Burntisland Community Council, let alone its chair or its representative on the Community and Safety Committee.