SIA ““Ventspils nafta” terminals” (VNT) said it received four official complaints in connection with petroleum stenches on 3 December 2016 in the city of Ventspils, although the company insists it did not perform any cargo operations during that period, so could not be responsible for the stink.
"The complaints were filed by representatives of the State Environmental Service, of which one resides in Tukums and another one is the head of monitoring department of Ventspils Regional Environmental Board (VREB)," VNT said in a press release.
"On 3 December 2016, the deputy director of VREB noted strong petroleum stenches in Ventspils and demanded for a VNT representative to physically come to the location - Market Sqaure (Tirgus laukums), where the stenches had been noted. Upon arrival and meeting the head of monitoring department of VREB, the VNT representative informed that VNT is not performing any active cargo operations and hence cannot be the cause of any stenches observed in the city. The above stated facts indicate that the officials of the State Environmental Service have not performed any investigation or verification prior to making their claims."
VNT said that based on such events it had "serious doubt about the competence of the work of the environmental authorities, which should be governed by objectivity and solid facts when performing their duties. Instead, in the context of Ventspils and especially with respect to VNT, the same authorities are guided mainly by speculation."
Similarly local media controlled by the local council had blamed VNT for the unpleasant smell which permeated the city without checking any facts, the company said.
"Such actions leave negative impression and effects not only on the reputation of the company, but also on the work of authorities in Latvia and independence of media. Furthermore, it deteriorates the trust of investors and their willingness to invest in Latvia," VNT said.
As previously reported several times by LSM, there is no love lost between VNT and the local council, controlled for more than two decades by Aivars Lembergs, who also has numerous business interests in the city.