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More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for Mossmorran to be shut down.
Campaigners say the ExxonMobil and Shell petrochemical plants are devastating communities in Fife and around the world.
The petition asks all candidates standing in May’s Scottish Parliamentary election to commit to closing the site and setting up a just transition board.
Workers and the community would then help create a plan to end the burning of fossil fuel.
People have been living with it on their doorsteps and they have had enough.”
Rebecca Davies, Actions Speak Louder Than Words.
Growing demand for products
It comes just a month after Exxon’s new plant manager Martin Burrell revealed there are no plans to wind down operations at Mossmorran.
He said there is growing demand for products made from petrochemicals, such as food packaging and medical products.
And he said the plant near Cowdenbeath, which opened in the 1980s, could still run for decades.
New campaign group Actions Speak Louder Than Words started the petition in the wake of Mr Burrell’s comments.
Spokeswoman Rebecca Davies described Mossmorran as “a ghastly monstrosity”.
“People have been living with it on their doorsteps and they have had enough,” she said.
“It is the third biggest polluter in Scotland.
“With the climate crisis intensifying across the world, the Scottish Government needs to start acting on its declaration of a climate emergency and commit to close down these plants.”
The Exxon plant is responsible for repeated bouts of unplanned flaring, most recently in October when more than 700 people complained.
Sepa is now investigating and is also seeking prosecution over a previous episode.
ExxonMobil is investing £140 million to reduce the number of incidents.
Politicians have backed the closure call but they said there must be a plan in place to ensure future energy needs and the retention of jobs.
The plant employs around 170 people.
‘Strength of feeling’
Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Mark Ruskell said the petition shows the strength of feeling in the community.
“I’m pleased more people are getting behind the Greens call for a just transition board for the plant,” he said.
“Investment to reduce flaring is welcome but late.
“An enormous amount of damage has already been done and the community has, justifiably, little faith in ExxonMobill’s willingness to deliver meaningful change.
“On top of that, reduced flaring will do nothing to tackle the climate wrecking emissions Mossmorran continues to pump out.”
I share the concerns of campaigners but we can’t just shut it down.”
SNP MP Neale Hanvey.
Mr Ruskell said fossil fuels must be phased out now if Scotland is to have any hope of reaching its target of net-zero emissions by 2045.
However, he added: “We can’t repeat the devastating job loses inflicted on Fife by the Tories when they shut down the mining industry with nothing to replace it.
“That’s why we need to put in place a comprehensive plan for a just transition involving workers and the entire community so that nobody is left behind.”
‘We need a skilled workforce’
SNP MP Neale Hanvey is also frustrated by the number of flaring incidents at Mossmorran.
However, he fears closure at this stage would create other problems.
“Two things are very important to any transition to a carbon negative future for the plant,” he said.
“We need a skilled workforce that understands the technology of that transition so any modification can take place.
“And we need to understand the strategic place that Mossmorran occupies and its access to the domestic network.
“There is enormous potential for carbon capture and storage in Scotland.
“My priority is to move in that direction but retain the skills of the workforce we currently have.
“I share the concerns of campaigners but we can’t just shut it down.”