“The role of the State and the communities is not to give in to blackmail in the employment of an aging and polluting factory”

Tribune. An Indonesian multinational in the hands of an extremely wealthy family has allowed the Fiber Excellence Tarascon (FET) pulp factory to deteriorate for ten years, and seriously harms the health and environment of 100,000 people in four municipalities – discharges major toxicants in the air and the Rhône, of which the plant is the largest user and polluter; noise ; soil contamination and suspicion of groundwater contamination – without taking into account the recommendations of the regional health agency on the health risk for local residents.

Among the atmospheric pollutants with observed exceedances: cadmium, sum of heavy metals cadmium-titanium-mercury, sum of heavy metals antimony-chromium-cobalt-copper-tin-manganese-nickel-lead-vanadium-zinc.

Sulfur dioxide (SO₂) and hydrogen sulphide (H₂S), nitrogen oxides (NOx) are also discharged… As for dust, a really unexpected check had for example revealed, in 2016, a dust level seven times higher than threshold declared by the operator, and twenty-seven times higher than the authorized average.

Concerning the Rhône, high levels of AOX (absorbable halogenated compounds), phosphorus, chlorine, heavy metals, and above all a high chemical demand for oxygen were noted.

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The State and the government are complicit in this pollution: for ten years, four orders of formal notice and eight emergency orders have been issued by the State against this industrialist for non-compliance with his regulatory obligations. and endangerment. However, nothing happened until 2018, when, under pressure, very insufficient work was undertaken; nothing since. Worse, the government then granted exemptions on taxes due to the Water Agency, and it subsidizes the operator.

This aging Seveso-classified plant, plagued by corrosion, appears to be a time bomb, now linking incidents (fire, accidental pollution) and breakdowns, with restarting with heavy fuel oil, very polluting, which could raise fears of an industrial accident of the AZF or Lubrizol type. . The start of an accident due to leaks took place on May 7, blocked by the unprecedented triggering of the emergency stop procedure. And a similar accident occurred on May 15 at Fiber Excellence Saint-Gaudens, the sister plant.

A two-year moratorium

All this largely at the expense of the French State, which hastens to come to its aid, with the support of policies which see only the employment and the maintenance of an industrial tool at any price, and of the very powerful and influential wood-forest sector, stepped up to the plate with many lies about the number of jobs threatened within it.

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