Press release: 75 million guilders Isla is not for the SMOC volunteers
WILLEMSTAD – From news reports from the last days, it seems as if the environmental organization SMOC demands 75 million guilders from Isla and thus endangers the existence of the oil refinery. Those reports are completely incorrect. SMOC informs what exactly is going on.
SMOC is 1 of 26 applicants in the case of 75 million guilders
The claim of 75 million guilders is a case initiated by the director of the Humanitarian Care Foundation, and co-claimants are the SMOC foundation and 24 residents (4 European Dutch people, 20 locals), of which 1 resident has died of cancer. SMOC is thus one of 26 claimants.
What is SMOC?
SMOC is a foundation that was founded in 2003 and has only one goal: clean air for the residents under the smoke of Isla and BOO. SMOC is not for the closure of the oil refinery. SMOC consists of volunteers who have no interest, do not buy land and are not paid for the work they do. Yes, there are rumors, but they do not make any sense at all. SMOC helps residents who live under the smoke, by visiting, listening, and giving information and advice. The board of SMOC consists of professionals: general practitioner, chemical engineer and pharmacist. SMOC is assisted by top experts in the field of refineries. All disinterested.
Why Isla has to pay 75 million guilders fine
If Isla has to pay 75 million guilders, it is because it has been sentenced to this fine by the Court of Justice in 2010. A fine that can only be imposed if Isla emits more sulfur dioxide than allowed because that is very harmful to health. Isla has known this for 8 years now. Since 2010, however, the emissions of sulfur dioxide by Isla have not decreased, but have increased significantly, and experts have now established that Isla has emitted more sulfur dioxide than allowed. Claimants have therefore decided to claim the refinery.
Can Isla pay 75 million guilders?
The court determined the fine at 75 million guilders. That is a huge amount, but according to the court, it is not so high that it would put the refinery in financial trouble. It only involves a few days or weeks of profit. Moreover, the fine was intended to ensure that Isla would do everything to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions. That did not happen and the complaints from residents have increased enormously. The operations of the refinery are NOT threatened by SMOC.
What happens with the money if Isla must pay?
If Isla has to pay, the SMOC foundation will receive over 2 million guilders. The other co-claimants jointly receive more than 72 million guilders. No one from SMOC gets the money, no, the foundation gets it. If that money comes to SMOC, the foundation will use it fully for the only purpose which the SMOC deals with: cleaner air. This can be done by helping residents under the smoke, e.g. air conditioning, or helping them move, cleaning the green substance emitted by the refinery, supporting medical assistance, paying medicines etc. A civil-law notary will see to it that the more than 2 million guilders paid to SMOC by the refinery, as one of the 26 claimants, goes to the benefit of the people near the Isla.
SMOC is therefore not about money, not about its own interests, not about land under the smoke, not about closing the refinery. Any accusations to the contrary are just lies.