Latviski English По-русски
Wednesday 19.09.2018 | Name days: Verners, Muntis

Media: Ventspils has a coal dust problem. Who is to blame?

(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Ventspils City Council deputies want a constructive dialogue and cooperation between businesses working at the port, Ventspils Freeport Authority and municipal administration to resolve the matter with air pollution in the city and address residents’ complaints. There is no cooperation to speak of at the moment, and «intimidation methods» employed by the city’s and freeport’s officials do not help resolve the situation – only worsen it, starts its opinion article after meeting with opposition deputies of Ventspils City Council.

Deputies Aivis Landmanis and Ivars Landmanis, who have worked in Ventspils City Council for several terms, say the problem with coal dust has always existed at the port, «only its public and demonstrative resolution has varied depending on who had the say and financial benefit from companies handling coal cargoes». «While Aivars Lembergs continued (according to evidence gathered by the prosecution) to reap benefits from Ventspils Commercial Port and other companies through his network of offshores, the city’s administration remained disinterested in solving this issue. However, once Lembergs lost influence of port companies, suddenly it started to stink badly,» writes.

«While Lembergs was receiving benefits from nearly every port terminal, no official were finding dust or the smell a worrisome problem. At the time neither city council employees, nor specialists sensed any problems at the port. Does this mean the city had no dust or smell problems? Nothing of the sort, I assure you! It is simply that Lembergs’ companies were allowed to do as they pleased as long as money flowed in the ‘right pockets’. Even this time companies loyal to Lembergs neither stink nor produce dust. One example worth mentioning is SIA Bio-Venta, in relation to which residents wrote in the comment section of Ventas Balss the following [unedited]: What about the oily stains on windows??? Do you really think residents are not forced to breathe in the oily fumes??? It stinks like a burnt porridge…. like A CORPSE!!! It’s getting hard not to vomit… but it seems we ‘mere mortals’ have to suffer through this for the sake of our masters’ wallets…’» notes that «the people who caused the dust problem – Aivars Lembergs, Jānis Vītoliņš, Guntis Blumbergs and Didzis Ošenieks – have decided to commence a theatrical effort to end it». «These people are responsible for creating terminals the way they are now. They also organized the construction of an oil-loading facility and a bioethanol plant, as well as cutting down Standzene forest for the needs of the enormous factory and establishing a fish production factory’s smokery in the city.»

The portal also mentions that «ever since Latvia recovered its independence’ the aforementioned officials [with some exceptions] have been in charge of Ventspils city and Ventspils Freeport Authority, and institutions responsible for the city’s and freeport’s development strategy are responsible for everything that happens in Ventspils, including the dust and smell».

«The dust from coal terminals is not the only environmental problem in Ventspils. Looking back at Jāņis Vītoliņš’s attack on pensioner Ivars Jansons, suing him for defamation after the old man reminded him of the pollution coming from the fish processing plant, it was Aivis Landmanis and his colleagues who stepped in for Jansons, and Vītoliņš lost the case,» the portal reminds.

Another example is the fight organized by Landmanis brothers and Vladislavs Šafranskis against adding more than 100 ha of Staldzeme forest’s territory to industrial zone of the port. «More than 1,500 signatures were collected, and ultimately ignored by officials. All solutions proposed by opposition members in regards to limiting the smell, dust and noise were rejected. Proposals to change the city’s territorial planning and gradually distance the port area from the residential area also went ignored. Instead I was decided to allow construction of massive hotel and SPA centres close to the port,» the media adds.

«All this leads to a question: is there really no attempt to acquire more ‘voluntary compulsory donations’ there? This was the case for years in SIA Ventspils nafta termināls for decades and even partially so in spring 2017, when certain officials managed to cut off millions worth of fertilizers from the company. Where else have you ever heard of decades’ worth of investor influencing and intimidation that has led to us being left with no coal to speak of?» Ventspils media writes.

The portal stresses: «It is clear the problem requires an immediate and rational solution. The first step would be sprinkling streets, as it is done in Riga. Of course, sprinkling means sprinkling, not creating a semblance of a water mist using street-cleaning machines».

«However, if unusually hot summer and northern winds are used for political populism and if there are suspicions of illegal and corruptive activities, the only solution is replacing standing officials in the municipal administration and Freeport. Only then will there be any hope for a constructive dialogue and effective solutions,» concluded after meeting with opposition deputies.

Leave a reply

Russian plane near Syria shot down by ally targeting Israeli planes

The Russian military plane, which went missing on Monday, has been shot down by its ally Syria targeting Israel's war planes and the number of servicemen lost in the event has been corrected from 14 to 15, the Russian government stated.

Latvian border guards find more than 140 kg of hashish in a car

On 16 September, Latvian State Border Guard detained a 1991-born man and his car at Grebnev border checkpoint. A secret compartment containing 145.3 kg of narcotic substances was found in his car during a routine inspection, as reported by State Border Guard.

EU suspects German car-makers of colluding against cleaner technology

EU competition watchdogs are probing if German automotive giants have colluded to restrict the development of clean emission technology.

Number of job vacancies in Latvia up 7.8 thousand in Q2 2018

In Q2 2018 there were 24.5 thousand job vacancies in Latvia, which is 7.8 thousand vacancies or 46.6 % more than in Q2 2017. In public sector there were 7.2 thousand and in private sector 17.3 thousand job vacancies.

Latvian government desperate to resolve the growing piles of used tires problem

Latvian government has supported Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry’s prepared report ‘On maintenance of used tires’. This report includes proposals for measures to help resolve the matter regarding speeding up recycling and regeneration rates, as well as the no less important matter of maintenance of used tires.

Cargo volumes handled by Latvian ports remain stable in first half-year of 2018

Latvian ports transshipped 43.468 million tonnes of cargoes in the first eight months of 2018, which is 0.9% more than in the same period of last year. According to data from Transport Ministry, cargo turnover’s negative balance continues declining at Ventspils port, where 13.274 million tonnes of cargoes were transshipped in the first eight months, which is a drop of 11.9%.

airBaltic carried 18% more passengers in summer

Latvian airline airBaltic has carried 2,770,047 more passengers to destinations in Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS and the Middle East in the first eight months of 2018, BNN was told by the company.

Ukrainian workers in Lithuania gradually fill gap left by Lithuanian exodus

Companies in Lithuania, in particular operating in construction, logistics and retail chains, are increasingly inviting workers from Ukraine and Belarus to fill the worker shortage of Lithuanians moving to richer countries.

ABLV Bank assets worth EUR 47.14 million recovered in August

Assets worth EUR 47.13 million were recovered from the liquidated ABLV Bank in August, which is 2.2 times more than a month prior, according to the account published in Latvian Herald.

Estonia bank watchdog points to Denmark's responsibility over Danske

As to the allegations of doubtful billions flowing via the Estonia branch of Danske Bank, the Estonian watchdog of financial institutions has noted that the Danish supervisory authority was responsible for the lender's risk control.

Liepaja City Council vice-chairman steps down

On Monday, 17 September, Liepaja City Council vice-chairman for tourism and investment affairs Ģirts Kronbergs announced his resignation.

Sixteen contenders apply for Rundale Castle Museum director’s post

A total of sixteen contenders have applied for participation in Latvian Culture Ministry’s announced open personnel selection process to find the next director of Rundale Castle Museum.

Russia: Military plane with 14 Russian soldiers has been lost near Syria

A Russian war plane with 14 servicemen on board has disappeared while over the Mediterranean Sea near the coast of Syria, Russia's Defence Ministry has stated.

Unity decides not to support UGF’s initiative for people’s elected president

Unity political party has no plans to support the amendments submitted by the Union of Greens and Farmers on people’s elected president, says Unity’s chairman Arvils Ašeradens.

U.S. to introduce more import tariffs on China produce

The U.S. government has announced imposing import duty tariffs on Chinese products worth USD 200 billion (EUR 171 billion), in a trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies.

Latvian parties’ pre-election promotion costs reach EUR 1.64 million

Three weeks prior to Saeima elections, expenses of Latvian political parties on promotion have reached EUR 1,638,393. Concord remains in the least expense-wise, according to information from Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau.

Internal Security Bureau criticizes State Police for insufficient corruption prevention

Internal Security Bureau has detained several police officers under suspicion of bribery. Because of that, the bureau has voiced criticism to the management of Latvia’s State Bureau for insufficient corruption prevention measures.

Full transition to electronic documents in construction sector planned for 2019

During a meeting on 17 September, Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers supported the amendments to Construction Law developed by Economy Ministry. These amendments provide for a full transition to electronic document handling in the country’s construction sector starting from 2019. This includes submission, decision-making processes and coordination – all of these processes will be performed using Construction Information System, as confirmed by Economy Ministry.

MPC permit revoked for liquidated Jurmala-based M7 Energy

Latvia’s Economy Ministry has made a decision to revoke the permit that allows selling produced electrical energy within mandatory procurement component system from SIA M7 Energy (previous name SIA KSER) CHP plant in Jurmala.

U.S. looking into Danske Bank operations in Estonia

Danske Bank, the leading bank in Denmark, is being investigated by U.S. authorities in relation to alleged money laundering from Russia involving Danske's Estonia branch, American media report.

Nearly 80,000 people have left Riga to live elsewhere in last seven years

In the past seven years, 78,692 people have left Riga to live in other countries or elsewhere in Latvia, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

Estonia's free rural bus rides result in passenger boom

Rural bus lines in the majority of Estonian counties have been offering free trips since early July, and in August an increase of 10,000 more rides was observed, resulting in frequently overcrowded buses.

NP: Riga municipality plans to adopt EUR 5 entry fee to city’s centre

A EUR 5 entry fee to Riga’s centre may be a solution Riga municipality has picked to help solve possible traffic congestion problem that is expected to appear in 2020, when it is planned commence construction of Rail Baltica railway. Because of that, several major streets will be closed down for traffic, according to information from Nekā personīga programme.

State Chancellery: no attempts to influence elections from abroad have been observed

Compared to the attempts to influence election results in other countries, no active attempts to influence 13th Saeima elections have been observed so far, said State Chancellery acting director for prevention of hybrid threats Kaspars Ozoliņš.

Switzerland urges Russia to quit violating law, spying in its territory

Switzerland's foreign ministry has urged Russia to stop illegal activities on its territory after three suspected spying cases have emerged in the country in 2018.