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 Special Bulletin: Israel Oil Spill Update
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel
Photo credit: Noam Weiss

  Dear ,  
A week ago today, Israelis woke up to news of Israel’s worst ever ecological disaster. A major oil pipeline operated by Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company ruptured near Eilat. Within two hours, over five million liters of crude oil flooded the Evrona Nature Reserve, creating a 4 mile river of toxic oil, devastating local nature in a particularly ecologically-sensitive area of the southern Arava region.

The Evrona Nature Reserve is home to a forest of century’s old Acacia trees, a herd of Dorcas Gazelle, and a menagerie of native desert mammals, reptiles and rare birds. In the days after the disaster, local resident Noam Weiss, Director the Eilat Birding Center for The Society of Protection of Nature in Israel, penned this poignant first-person account of the ecological tragedy which we  encourage you to read.

SPNI can report that the authorities, including the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Nature and Parks Authority, have responded urgently and professionally to this disaster. To date, over 20,000 tons of contaminated soil have been removed, and a series of dams have been built to prevent the oil from flowing into the Gulf of Eilat where it would devastate the coral reefs. Our experts estimate it will take decades to fully repair the damage and rehabilitate the reserve.

In the last week SPNI's relief efforts have included both work in the field and within the government to repair the damage and ensure that this can ever happen again.

Our main activities so far include:

       SPNI has played a major role in the professional monitoring and initial rehabilitation  efforts in the past week, and will do so for as long as  is needed.

       SPNI staff are working with authorities and the press to provide up to date information on the impact of the oil spill on local wildlife.

       SPNI dispatched an urgent letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding a full and transparent inquiry into what happened and to ensure any guilty parties pay full compensation to the public.

       SPNI dispatched an urgent letter to MK Miri Regev, Chair of the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, demanding an immediate public debate on the matter in order to put into place safeguards so this is never repeated.

      In a related vein, highlighting the danger of fossil fuel extraction and transport in Israel,  SPNI held a conference this week  focusing on the great risks of  planned oil exploration in the Golan Heights.

       SPNI’s educational department is creating educational material, appropriate for the various age groups, describing the ecological disaster and its consequences,  highlighting the dangers of reliance on fossil fuels, and promoting the use of clean and renewable energy.

Over the past week we have been inundated and inspired by your messages of support and offers of help. Together, we will not abate in our efforts to make Israel an environmental beacon which should know no future such disasters.


Jay Shofet
Director of Partnerships and Development

Educate. Love. Protect.
© 2012 The American Society for
the Protection of Nature in Israel

SPNI has several chapters throughout the world. This includes Canada, the United States, France, and the UK.If you would like to get involved in your local chapter, please visit their local page or contact them directly.
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