THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Agency has begun a prosecution against Shell for emissions at its Corrib gas refinery in Bellanaboy, Co Mayo.
The EPA has confirmed to TheJournal.ie that a summons was issued late last week, the culmination of an investigation into a flaring incident at the gas refinery on New Year’s Eve last.
The test flaring lasted 30 to 40 minutes from around 8.15pm that evening, two days after Alex White, the then minister for energy, gave final operating consent for the project.
Under the project’s integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) license, awarded by the EPA, flaring is only allowed “for safety reasons or for non-routine operational conditions”.
Flaring involves the burning off of flammable gas, and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. It is activated in order to deal with a pressure rise in the plant, or a fire or gas release.
The EPA has kept a record of reports from the gas developers of other flaring incidents.
Under the EPA acts, 1992 and 2003, penalties include a fine not exceeding €3,000 or imprisonment for any term not exceeding 12 months, or both fine and imprisonment, on summary conviction.
The fine is up to €15million or imprisonment for no more than 10 years, or both fine and imprisonment, on conviction on indictment.