In a consultation statement to the Norwegian Environment Agency on 9 April 2019, the Swedish Environmental Protection Association demands that the owner of the measure, Equinor (formerly Statoil), collects both blown sand and paint.
Equinor is applying for discharge into the sea of 40 tonnes of blown sand and 400 kilos of paint residues. This despite the fact that the company is in the process of creating solutions for collection. Climate considerations and resource use are argued to be allowed to be released instead of collected.
This will turn the problem on its head, says Jan-Hugo Holten of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, which has handled the case. We think it is good that Equinor is on the ball when they have already collected and find it strange that they do not want to further develop the methods they already use. Furthermore, the NMF requires that the Directorate tightens the requirements for documentation in this type of application for the future.
Wrong signals from the Norwegian Environment Agency to comply with the application
It is and will be very wrong signals to give the company, which has huge operating profits, that it is okay not to clean up after its maintenance. NMF has previously been in contact with suppliers who say it should be possible to collect both sand and paint.
The solutions exist
NMF recognizes that it is a challenge, but no bigger than Equinor's being able to handle this in line with other operations. Equinor, like other actors, must comply with Norway's obligations under, among other things, the Ospar convention which we signed in 1998, concludes Holten, who emphasizes that the association will have a principled attitude to this type of application in the future.