Valbuena: "We have unraveled a file that mixed improper things"

The Minister of Ecological Transition of the Government of the Canary Islands, Jose Antonio Valbuena, defends that what the Government of the Canary Islands has done is to “unravel” the administrative situation in which the Santa Cruz Refinery was found to proceed with its dismantling. And, according to the counselor, who announced in Parliament this Tuesday that Cepsa will begin its dismantling in 2022, there were sanctioning proceedings open against the company for environmental issues that had to be resumed and ended, as well as to convince the company that it was necessary to detach the process of leaving Santa Cruz from any type of urban operation. Once these preliminary steps have been resolved, Valbuena assures that the deadlines that the oil company has to go through will take it until 2027 to conclude the dismantling. “The steps that are being taken are linked to the construction of storage tanks in the industrial estate of Granadilla, something that the Ministry has promised to speed up,” said the counselor yesterday. “Thus,” Valbuena continued, “there are the first two years in which the refinery will be dismantled. The next two will be dedicated to soil decontamination, and the last two will end with this dismantling. We are talking about six years ”. In addition, he added that “when we came to the government we found a kind of agreement in which different concepts were mixed, elements that we believe should not be mixed.”

Valbuena affirmed, in statements to Cadena Ser, that when they reached the Government, “we found that a series of files from the environmental inspections that were carried out were not being processed, that they were paralyzed, and that it had to be resumed with respect to faults that they were serious. In addition, it was intended that the Government of the Canary Islands give a provisional authorization for storage, something that simply did not fit ”. The counselor defended that what was done was to “administratively unravel all that” and “convince Cepsa that an urban operation cannot be linked to the dismantling of the Refinery, which will begin with the dismantling, and, above all, to decontaminate ”. In subsequent statements, the counselor insisted that the current mayor, José Manuel Bermúdez, has not unlocked anything. “The first thing we did, with Patricia Hernández as mayor, was to try to move forward and focus the objectives, which were none other than to dismantle and decontaminate, and that was achieved. With the new mayor, the only thing we did was inform him of the steps that were already being taken ”.

He insisted that all they have done is clarify issues, because “the modus operandi of CC, as far as land management is concerned, is to try to mix concepts.” He elaborated on this statement by pointing out that “when a land that is unconsolidated urban is re-classified, there are a series of charges associated with the owner that have to do with urbanization, streets, lighting, etc., and benefits such as to be able to build on those soils. Here, it was wanted to add to these benefits and charges a plus so that the operation of dismantling the Refinery would not be burdensome for Cepsa. What we are saying is that this operation must be in charge of the profits generated ”, he concluded.

Bermúdez’s opinion “slips”

Mayor José Manuel Bermúdez insisted yesterday that the only thing signed with Cepsa is that “these lands are necessary for the city to expand and for this it is necessary to decontaminate, dismantle and organize urban planning.” “What I know,” he continued, “is that, curiously, when this mayor transfers the president to intervene (in DIARIO DE AVISOS on the 2nd) because nothing is moving, the counselor’s statement comes out.” For Bermúdez, “it is obvious” that Cepsa bears the costs of dismantling, to add that it “slips” what Valbuena thinks. “I don’t care what he says, we have chosen transparency,” he said.

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