The Cosmos Cement Plant, where the leaks have occurred. The Cosmos Cement Plant, where the leaks have occurred.

Leaks in Cosmos, Take Note

6 August 2018 It had to happen and it happened. Cementera Cosmos has recorded two leaks as a result of a failure due to an alleged power failure. Fortunately, this happened before the Castilla y León Government made a decision on the burning of tyres by the company.

I hope, at least, that this accident will help the politicians and the people of Bierzo to reflect on the serious danger of having such an installation, situated in the middle of a heavily populated orchard and whose safety hangs on an electrical wire.

These facts, after months and months of intense campaigns by the multinational Cosmos to raise awareness about tyre burning safety, cause us enormous anxiety. Those who were not sure can now see the danger we are all facing and the threat posed by this activity that only brings prosperity to its owners, wherever they may be.

The future of the Bierzo cannot be this: burning tyres. Too simple and too dangerous for a region that is looking for its economic model in the food industry.

The most sensible thing to do is to bet on sustainable growth, quality agriculture and responsible tourism. It is not necessary to remember that viticulture has been part of our identity for centuries and that wine has been one of the main economic drivers of the region along with other well-known products. We must all protect ourselves from short-term adventures whose consequences are unknown and will last for years and years.  I remember that "bread for now and famine for tomorrow", but Cosmos does not even give bread today, nor will he give it tomorrow. Economically it means very little in the Bierzo and it is there for what it is: to generate profits for its owners, something that could be commendable if it were not for the fact that it could lead to the ruin of the agri-food sector, which provides many jobs.

I'm imagining the multinational's owners relaxing on their tropical wooden deckchairs while the constant rain of millions makes their day. And at the same time, thousands of kilometres away, I see that in Toral de los Vados it is raining dust', ground ash' or whatever you want to call it, and I see that some insist that this is the progress that the people of Bierzo deserve. And it doesn't, especially now that a simple power failure has highlighted the insecurity they want to condemn us to.

From the Consejo Regulador de los Vinos del Bierzo we insist once again that the agri-food industry cannot be subordinated to the interests of a few people. And no matter how much they say, pollution is not progress. We support Bierzo Aire Limpio's initiative to bring this matter to the attention of the prosecution and believe that an independent investigation into the causes of accidents is now essential.

From this rostrum, I would like to invite you to a responsible reflection exercise on what the future bet should be for this rich land, what its economic model should be in the medium and long term and what we would be doomed to by a mere industrial zeal that is unsustainable and harmful.

Let us not allow El Bierzo or its future to be destroyed. If we do not protect what is ours - and this is our responsibility - others will not.



President of CRDO Bierzo