Operation Influencer: Start Campus points out “misconceptions about environmental impact” that threaten project in Sines

Operation Influencer: Start Campus points out “misconceptions about environmental impact” that threaten project in Sines

Start Campus, which was a defendant in the Influencer operation, said today that there were “misconceptions” about the environmental impact of the Sines data center that threaten the “continuity of a key project”, according to a statement.

In the note, the company, now led by Robert Dunn, following the resignation of Afonso Salema and Rui Oliveira Neves, also defendants, indicated that it “reaffirms its environmental commitment and guarantees that protected species are not at risk”.

For the company there are “misconceptions about the environmental impact of the Start Campus data center” that threaten the “continuity of a key project”.

“The construction of the Sines 4.0 project, a ‘hyperscaler’ data center developed by Start Campus, which will contribute to the strong development of the local and national economy, is establishing new standards of environmental responsibility and the creation of green ecosystems”, assured.

“Located in the Industrial Zone of Sines, on the site of a decommissioned airfield, between a railway line and a coal-fired power station, construction work on the first building of the €3.5 billion project is close to completion, it will be powered by renewable energy and will create almost 10,000 new jobs”, he further assured.

The company highlighted that this first building, known as “NEST” is “situated entirely outside the Natura Network, which protects flora and fauna habitats”, adding that “this phase of construction is not subject to an environmental impact assessment (EIA) by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA)”, this entity, however, added “a condition to the project, requiring Start Campus to protect the ‘Erica cirialis’ and ‘Erica erigena’ plants around the site”.

Start Campus assured that it complied with this requirement, “in close collaboration with local habitat experts on how to protect plants”.

In the same note, the company indicated that “the construction of NEST is almost complete – the expectation is that it will be fully operational in March 2024”, highlighting that besides this building, “no other construction has been carried out” and that “the subsequent planned phases are within the Natura Network, and are in the design and licensing phase”.

“Start Campus is working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure that it meets all requirements for respecting the Natura Network before any work is started”, he highlighted.

“We understand the concerns surrounding the development of our first building; we are doing everything we can to prove that Start Campus is doing the right thing, at all times,” said Robert Dunn, executive chairman (CEO) of company, in the statement.

The Public Ministry (MP) detained five people as part of this process: the Prime Minister’s then chief of staff, Vítor Escária, the mayor of Sines, Nuno Mascarenhas, two administrators from Start Campus, Afonso Salema and Rui Oliveira Neves, and lawyer Diogo Lacerda Machado, a friend of António Costa, who at the end of the judicial interrogation were released.

In total, there are nine defendants in the investigation into the lithium, green hydrogen and Sines data center business, including the now former Minister of Infrastructure, João Galamba, the president of the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), Nuno Lacasta, the lawyer and former PS spokesperson João Tiago Silveira and Start Campus.



This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.

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