Anger as Mossmorran operators refuse to face public

Neither Exxon nor Shell will be attending tonight's public meeting.
Neither Exxon nor Shell will be attending tonight's public meeting.

The operators of the troubled Mossmorran petro-chemical plant in Fife is to boycott tonight’s public meeting claiming the event will be neither fair nor constructive.

The meeting, organised by Mossmorran Action Group (MAG). had invited representatives from both ExxonMobil and Shell to attend but both have refused the offer.

Organisers are expecting a large turn out at tonight’s gathering, being held in Lochgelly which comes in the wake of incresing pressure on the controversial plant operators following the latest incident of unplanned flaring.

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Jacob McAlister, plant manager at ExxonMobil’s Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP), said: “Representatives from the FEP will not be attending this evening’s MAG meeting.

“This is due to the unavailability of senior plant managers and because we do not believe that this particular meeting will provide an opportunity for fair, constructive and informed discussion.

“We have, however, made repeated offers to MAG to join community representatives for a question and answer session on-site with our senior management team in the near future but MAG has so far chosen not to accept.

“Such a meeting would also allow us to share our Best Available Techniques Report which outlines a multi-million pound programme of improvements that we are planning to further minimise instances and impact of unplanned flaring – underlining our commitment to taking right and responsible action.

“We also remain active and committed participants in Fife Council’s formally recognised community fora, the Independent Air Quality Monitoring Group and Safety Liaison Committee, and continue to support efforts to improve the effectiveness of these organisations.

“Furthermore, we will again reach out to members of the local community with invitations to visit FEP themselves to allow us to address concerns directly and build mutual understanding and trust.”

The rebuke has brought an angry response from the meeting’s organisers who have accused the operators of having “complete contempt” for those living close to the plant.

James Glen MAG chairman, said: “ExxonMobil’s decision not to come this evening shows the company’s complete contempt for the communities who host their plant and who have been forced to endure unacceptable impacts in terms of pollution, light, noise and vibration.

“It is ridiculous for a company of 71,000 employees to suggest no one is available.

“To suggest further that they do not view the meeting as an opportunity for “fair, constructive and informed discussion“ shows just how little respect they have for local people and their political representatives from all parties, who will be there tonight.”
Mr Glen also claimed that the invite to a factory meeting offered nothing more than a “propaganda tour”.

“The more ExxonMobil tries to pretend there is no issue worthy of attention at Mossmorran, the angrier people will become and the pressure for greater government investigation and regulation will become irresistible,” Mr Glen added.

Tonight’s public meeting takes place at Lochgelly Town hall, Bank Street, lochgelly from 7pm.