LegalBrief 30 July, 2019
Pollution: Sasol’s plants threatened by sulphur emissions standards
Sasol last week said some of its SA plants are under threat from sulphur dioxide emission standards that it will need to comply with by 2025. ABusinessLIVE report notes that the company, SA’s biggest by revenue, operates plants that convert coal into motor fuel and chemicals in Secunda and Sasolburg. Sasol said flue-gas desulphurisation equipment needed to cut emissions of the gas, which causes acid rain and a range of health complications, is too costly and technically difficult to install. Air pollution in the area around coal-fired plants operated by Sasol and Eskom east and south of Johannesburg, rivals levels in some of the most polluted cities on earth. The government has proposed doubling the new limit, but is coming under increased pressure to act against the two companies as it is being sued by environmental activists over the breach of current emission limits. ‘The new plant standard for sulphur dioxide will pose a compliance risk challenge for Sasol post 2025 from both a technical and financial feasibility point of view,’ the company said in an e-mailed response to questions. ‘Sasol is still saying they can’t afford flue-gas desulphurisation,’ said Robyn Hugo, programme head for pollution and climate change at the Centre for Environmental Rights.