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ALOFI, Niue (Niue News, August 13) - A new bulk fuel depot to replace the cyclone damaged tanks at Sir Robert's Wharf in Alofi has sparked a controversy.

Concrete foundations have already been poured at the the Niue Power Corporation's powerhouse, Tuila, but there has been no environmental impact study the project and now a majority of the island's politicians have blocked the proposal and want the site re-located.

Meanwhile, opposition Member of Parliament Terry Coe said this week that oil tanks shipped aboard a cargo vessel are at present sitting on the roadside in Alofi and nearby residents are concerned that the thousands of liters of fuel - petrol and diesel - is presenting a danger to the tiny community.

Coe said foundations for the bulk fuel depot have been poured without any precautions against spillage, leakages or fire. The depot is next to the powerhouse, which operates 24 hours a day and where sparks from the generator chimney could cause a major incident, said Coe.

Coe joined a majority of MP's in the Legislative Assembly this week to pass a motion calling for the fuel depot to be moved to a safer place. He said he did not know if government had an alternative site but it could be across of the road from the powerhouse. That site had been considered by the previous government, said Coe a former Minister of Finance and public works.

"If diesel leaks it will seriously affect the water lens where bores pump water to residents in Alofi," he said.

Coe claimed the government had not given enough serious thought to the storage of fuel following cyclone Heta in January and had made a "hasty decision" to locate the fuel depot at the powerhouse property.

Public Works Minister Bill Vakaafi said work on the tank site had not been completed and provision had been made for spillages and fire protection,

August 16, 2004

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