Four local residents have initiated a legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's decision granting Shell E&P Ireland an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Licence (IPPC)for the Corrib gas refinery in Co Mayo.
The EPA granted the IPPC licence for the Bellanaboy Bridge gas terminal, a gas refinery and large combustion plant designed to process 9.9 million cubic meters of natural gas per day.
When operational, the refinery will treat gas transported via a 65km pipeline from the offshore Corrib gas field before it is discharged via a pipeline into the existing Bord Gais gas network.
In proceedings before the High Court on Friday, four residents argued the decision to grant the license is flawed and should be set aside.
The action, against the EPA and the State, has been brought by Martin and Maura Harrington, Doohoma, Ballina, and Monica Muller and Peter Sweetman, Rossport South, Ballina.
Michael O’Donnell BL, for the four, said the challenge concerned what has been “quite a controversial development” for the last number of years.
His clients all reside close to and say they will effected by the gas refinery, which is expected to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, he said.
In the proceedings, it is argued the EPA failed to have adequate regard to the EU Habitats Directive in its decision granting a license. The EPA failed to carry out an appropriate assessment for the purposes of the Habitats Directive, it is claimed.
It is also alleged that certain steps required under the EU Environmental Impact Assessment Directive have not been complied with.
Counsel said that the requirements under the directives must be complied with before the EPA can grant the IPPC licence.
In judicial review proceedings, the four want various orders and declarations, including an order quashing the grant of the IPPC licence in respect of the refinery and orders requiring the EPA and State carry out an EIA in respect of the refinery to include all elements of the development.
It is argued the EPA and the State must take all measures to fix any past failures to carry out an assessment of the environmental impact and effect of the refinery as provided for under the EIA directive.
Shell E&P Ireland is a notice party to the action.
The application for leave to bring the case, which was made on an ex-parte basis (one side only represented), came before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys who adjourned it to later this month.