Photo: Bart Dewelly
CD&V chief Joachim Keynes is critical of the way Flemish Environment Minister Saturn Demir communicated on Wednesday over the PFOS contamination dossier. “The agent, the hearings, the investigative committee … the secretary really needs to know what she wants,” the CD&V chief wrote on Twitter Thursday.
Minister Demir surprised his friend and foe on Wednesday by suggesting to Parliament the formation of a parliamentary inquiry committee to examine the PFOS contamination file in Zwendrecht and the surrounding area. It is somewhat unprecedented for a minister in his position to insist on setting up a commission of inquiry.
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The majority was also surprised by the minister’s “efforts.” For example, the alliance partner CD&V was clearly “not amused”. Tensions between coalition partners increased sharply on Wednesday.
According to CD&V Coens president, Demir should “really know what you want.” Earlier in the day, Demir appointed Sahib with a task in the file and the hearings on the file were agreed upon within Parliament.
But the head of CD&V Coens also stresses that the file must be “completely explored”. “People’s health comes first, by all means possible,” Queens wrote on Twitter. On Wednesday, CD&V MP Koen Van den Heuvel said there should already be clarity for the people involved in the Zwijndrecht, but that the hearings should be organized first. Only if they show that a commission of inquiry is necessary can it be formed.
“This is not the way to work together with a majority, there must be trust.” Flemish CD&V Minister Benjamin Dahl said on canvas on Thursday in Terzake. Dahl indicated, Thursday, that the formation of an investigation committee is up to Parliament. “We certainly support this from CD&V, when it comes to people’s health, there has to be transparency,” the minister said. This is good in terms of substance, but of course this file was discussed in the Flemish government last Friday. The word of the investigation committee was not mentioned there. So this kind of parliamentary vaudeville will definitely not happen again.”
Read also. Seven urgent questions after PFOS contamination in Zuigendrecht (+) soil
In Zwijendrecht, and more specifically in the wider vicinity of the plant of the American company 3M, there are very high concentrations of PFOS in the soil. This chemical, produced by 3M until 2002, is difficult to break down and has been linked in studies to potential health risks, such as hormonal imbalances and an increased risk of cancer. In recent weeks, the debate over PFOS contamination and 3M’s liability has raged.