By Humphrey Carter
THE debate over the proposed gas link to the mainland is raging again with environmentalists deeply opposed to the present idea of the San Joan de Dios area being used as the main gas deposit. Balearic environmental group GOB proposed that the new gas distribution station should be established in the Dique del Oeste port area as opposed to the abandoned San Juan de Dios power station site. GOB spokesperson Miguel Angel March explained that not only will connecting the link to the port area be safer, the docks already have the necessary infrastructure. He said that the facilities installed in the port by power company GESA to handle diesel, could instead be used to control the gas.
March also claimed that there are a number of “legal questions” over certain points in the project as some points fail to meet Spanish and European Union law. At the moment, the plan is for the pipe to hit Majorca between Coll d'en Rabassa and Es Carnatge. However, opponents are deeply concerned about the safety risk the gas pipe will pose to some 15.000 residents. The alternative which GOB has had devised by a team of engineers, would keep the gas pipe and distribution centre well away from residential areas.
What is more, access to the area is not easy and would be complicated in the event of an accident.
Es Carnatge is, at present, being completely re-landscaped and transformed into a vast Mediterranean garden.
The project was one of the old tourist tax-funded initiatives and is well on its way to completion.
GOB and local opponents to the project also object to the gas pipe being put down through the area no sooner than the green-belt project has been completed. March said that GOB's alternative plan will be submitted to both central and local governments and he hopes that the project will be modified to appease the demands of the local population in Majorca. In-coming prime minister Jose Luis Zapatero has made it clear he intends to favour alternative and green energy sources and opponents to the gas link hope that central government will back their cause and put pressure on the authorities in Palma.

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