The 42,000 tonnes of highly toxic waste (arsenic, asbestos, chromium, incineration waste, etc.) stored at the Stocamine site in Wittelsheim, Haut-Rhin, will remain buried 500 meters underground. The Minister of Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu, announced on Tuesday, September 19, to the Alsatian elected officials the government’s decision to implement a definitive confinement despite strong local opposition. In the coming days, a new prefectural decree must be published to indefinitely extend the storage authorization initially granted in 1997 for a period of thirty years, with the possibility of reversibility at that time.
Stored in galleries excavated under an old potash mine, this dangerous waste threatens in the long term the water table of Alsace, the highest in Europe, which supplies drinking water to seven million people on both sides of the Rhine. Its fate has been opposed since more than twenty years ago, through prefectural decrees and appeals to the courts, to the supporters of destocking (local authorities and environmental associations) to the State, which defends the status quo.
“Containment is the only way to ensure the protection of the water table and not put future generations at risk.we assure the ministry. It is now too late and too risky to consider a stock reduction, even partial, given the advanced state of deterioration of the galleries. » In June, despite widespread opposition from residents and local elected officials, the public inquiry commission issued a favorable opinion on the definitive containment project presented by the director of Stocamine, the company Mines de potasse d’Alsace ( MDPA), whose State is the sole shareholder.
“Christophe Béchu follows current procedures, expert reports, alerts from environmental associations and the constitutional precautionary principle. This is premeditated ecocide! », reacts the deputy (rebellious France) of the Lower Rhine Emmanuel Fernandes. The LFI-Nupes parliamentary group calls for the opening of a commission of inquiry into “the expectant attitude of public authorities to force waste to be buried.” at your side, The European Community of Alsace (CEA) remains firm in its positions and indicates to world want “continue working under conditions of guaranteed future stock reduction”.
However, the government’s repeated desire to permanently confine Stocamine waste could still clash with the courts. On Monday, September 18, the Alsace Nature association filed a new complaint with the Strasbourg judicial court. It targets the MDPA for several possible criminal offenses: “fake”, ” scam ” and “Lack of maintenance since at least 2017. (having) “seriously compromised the safety of the personnel responsible for the reduction of livestock”. At the same time, the NGO submitted a request for referral to the liberty and detention judge to prevent the resumption of the burial work and to verify the lack of maintenance of the galleries.
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