Valley of Elah residents, Greenpeace members and local NGOS in Israel organized a march today against the development of oil shale in Israel. Oil shale and its extraction remains a very controversial subject.
Israel has so much oil shale, located in regions like the Elah Valley where the story of David and Goliath took place, enough some say to make it energy independent. Israel’s oil, locked up in shale much like the Alberta tar sands, could shift the energy curve. Developers of oil shale in Israel (Rupert Murdoch is an investor along with Lord Jacob Rothschild) say that their methods to extract the shale – oil mixed in with sediments and rocks deep below the ground – will not harm the environment. Elah Valley residents do not believe such “experimental” techniques are in the interest of the community or long-term environmental survival of the region.
Tafline has written a lot about oil shale in Israel, and after an open letter to environmentalist David de Rothschild, convinced him to bring the topic up with his cousin, Lord Jacob Rothschild, an investor of oil shale exploration in Israel. Stakeholders are convinced that their new methods to drill into, then heat the oil shale up underground to siphon off the oil will not harm the outwards environment or the water table. The public, clearly, is not buying.
Today activists (and their children) against the development marched 40 kilometers in protest, from the Valley of Elah all the way to the Israeli Knesset, its parliament house in Jerusalem. Organizations involved included Greenpeace, the SPNI, and Green Life and the Environment.
They called their march the illusion of oil shale.
Hila Krupsky from Greenpeace said: “It is not possible to experiment in such a dangerous and irresponsible way without going through the approval mechanisms of planning and construction, and without asking the opposition to the public which is a basic right in a democracy.”
Attorney Karen Halpern from the Israel Union of Environmental Defense said: “The oil shale project is a clear example of the relationship between money and power that endangers the environment and public health. The close cooperation in the Knesset, the Ministry of Infrastructure with the project developers is suspicious and disturbing.”
Knesset Member Nitzan Horiwitz, who is a past media man, and environmentalist trained at the Heschel Center said: “This project is on the verge of surreal health and environmental impacts, which may be most difficult and irreversible. Its economic efficiency is not proven anywhere in the world…”