The products consumed during the fire Lubrizol factory in Rouen, there are nearly a month, did not present "no threat to health", assured Tuesday, October 22, the CEO of the American group Eric Schnur. He is also committed to completing the compensation.
Heard for nearly two hours by the information mission of the National Assembly, then in the afternoon by the Senate commission of inquiry, the boss was reassuring about the effects on the health of the fire, telling senators that the products that burned had "no other health risk than irritation caused by smoke".
In front of the deputies, the CEO affirmed to understand "that concerns persist".
Short and medium term support
Long questioned about the compensation measures following the fire, Eric Schnur committed to "short-term and medium-term support" for affected farmers. The Lubrizol group is willing to finance compensation and wants to behave as a "good neighbor", he assured, without giving any figures.
According to the Minister of Agriculture, Didier Guillaume, the damage was estimated "between 40 and 50 million" for farmers.
The CEO of Lubrizol also mentioned aid for businesses penalized by the fire, and for the support of the tourist activity of Rouen and Normandy.
"I have committed millions of euros and I will do more if necessary, we want to work with local authorities," he said.
He said he wanted to meet again the Minister of the Ecological Transition Elisabeth Borne to discuss these issues, but also that he was going to Rouen again this week.
As for the employees of the plant, "their salaries are paid in full," said Eric Schnur, indicating having met some of them during his visit in early October.
His statements, however, had a hard time convincing his interlocutors, especially in the Senate.
"Doubts about the reality of information"
The chairman of the Senate commission of inquiry, Hervé Maurey, noted the "good intentions" of the CEO, but he regretted that he was not "today able to provide all the elements of response" on compensation.
Hervé Maurey also expressed "some doubts about the reality of information about the non-dangerousness of the barrels" that burned.
The CEO of Lubrizol again claimed that the fire broke out outside the factory, while specifying wait "to know exactly the source and the cause".
Eric Schnur, who announced that the group would "not replace the warehouses that were destroyed" during the fire of September 26, however, said that the site would be cleaned up, to "reassure the population."
"Our decision not to rebuild the facilities as before is simply that we want to continue operating facilities that have not been affected by the fire," he added.
The prefect of Normandy announced that the treatment of damaged drums potentially containing a hazardous product on the Rouen site will begin "in principle" Wednesday, not Tuesday.
The Senate commission is scheduled to visit Rouen Thursday to visit the Lubrizol site and meet with stakeholders.
For its part, the National Assembly will hear Wednesday a series of local officials, including the Regional Director of the Environment, the director of the Regional Health Agency, the director of departmental fire services and elected officials including the mayor from Yvon Robert.
On September 26, some 5,253 tonnes of chemicals burned in the Lubrizol plant, as well as 4,250 tonnes of products in warehouses of the neighboring Normandie Logistique, also affected (including 1,691 tonnes also from Lubrizol). .