Valencia replicates the port dilemma of Barcelona in El Prat


“We change the system, not the climate” or “We think globally, we act locally.” Slogans like these were read yesterday at the demonstration of thousands of citizens that went through the center of Valencia to oppose the completion of the expansion of the city’s port, which has been paralyzed since 2012.

Convened by the City-Port Commission, the Youth for Climate Association and the university unions BEA and Saó, who went on strike to denounce the effects of the infrastructure, the mobilization brought together more than 150 civil organizations with the aim of demanding ” coherence ”in public administrations. “It is good to pass laws against the climate emergency, but then we must apply them and not promote or allow projects that contradict them,” David Adrià, one of the spokespersons for Youth for the Climate, told ARA.

The size and impact of the project are so high that they have been dividing the progressive governments of Valencia City Council and the Generalitat for months. On the pro-infrastructure side is the PSPV, which joins forces with the PP, Citizens and the Valencian Business Confederation. All four defend the work for its economic impact.

The one who has most clearly verbalized the socialist argument has been the city’s deputy mayor, Sandra Gómez, who a few months ago demanded to flee from “the dichotomy of choosing between environmental protection and employment”. Failure to do so, he warned, “could lead to the more popular classes not perceiving progressive parties as their allies, and making them receptive to the populist discourses of parties like Vox.”

Like his party colleague, the head of the Council, Ximo Puig, has defended the need to marry environmental and economic interests, and has stated that “40,000 families, thousands of SMEs and large companies” depend on the port of Valencia. “70% of Ford’s exports go through the port, the first in Spain in transit of goods,” he stressed.

On the opposition side are Compromís, Unidas Podem, Esquerra Republicana del País Valencià, environmental organizations and most of the neighborhood movement. They criticize the work because they consider that it will “shoot up pollution” due to the increase in truck traffic and will aggravate the situation of the coast and the Albufera by slowing down the natural currents of the sea. The most forceful so far has been the spokesman for Commitment to the Parliament, Fran Ferri, who in an appearance in Parliament questioned the benefits of the expansion and noted that the new terminal is designed to store empty containers or in transit aimed at other communities that will not generate any significant impact on the Valencian economy.

In the same vein, the spokeswoman for United We Can, Pilar Lima, said that the growth of the port will not create new jobs because “it is based on increasing robotization.”

A controversial environmental permit

In the Spanish government, positions are also divided. In favor of completing the expansion of the infrastructure is the public company Ports de l’Estat, which in April gave the green light to the construction of the northern terminal considering that the environmental impact statement (DIA) approved in 2007 is not expired. The report concludes that, as the works, which cost 204 million – of which 74 million were subsidized with European funds – began in 2008, one year after the publication of the document, this is valid and valid. The decision has not been modified by the fact that the extension was redesigned in 2019 by introducing modifications such as the extension of 505 meters of one dike, the demolition of another and the extension of the dredging. A position that is not shared by the Ministry of Ecological Transition, which has recommended to the Port Authority of Valencia to draw up a new DAY, a proposal to which the body refuses arguing that it is unnecessary. They do not believe so from the City-Port Commission, which claims that the environmental impact statement has expired and is confident that the courts will be right. Meanwhile, as yesterday, he plays the card of citizen mobilization.


Source: Ara.cat – Portada by www.ara.cat.

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