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Poland fined EUR 500,000 per day for violating EU court ruling at Turów coal mine

Luxembourg, 20 September 2021 - Statement from the Europe Beyond Coal campaign groups on Poland being handed an unprecedented fine for breaching a European Court of Justice order to halt operations at PGE’s Turów coal mine:

“This ECJ ruling against PGE’s reckless coal mining is the first of its kind, however, it likely will not be enough to protect Czech citizens from damage caused by Turow. The Polish government has made it abundantly clear: it has no intention of telling PGE to halt operations at the mine, and is willing to absorb a fine ten times the size,” said Petra Urbanova, lawyer at Czech Frank Bold. “Should the Polish government continue to refuse to comply, the European Court of Justice and European Commission must use the other levers at their disposal to convince Poland to comply, or a precedent will be set, whereby countries can simply buy their way around EU law.” 

“The money that the Polish government will waste paying this fine would be better spent helping the people living in the Zgorzelec region justly transition to new jobs,” said Katarzyna Kubiczek, project manager from the Polish EKO-UNIA Ecological Association. “Unfortunately,  the failure by the Polish government and PGE to plan for this inevitable change means that not only is money being wasted on fines, they will also lose far larger amounts of financial support from the Just Transition Fund.” 

“It’s not too late for PGE to change its mind about Turów and start planning for an earlier closure of the plant and mine complex, but the region has already fallen behind the likes of Eastern Wielkopolska, which is making good strides towards being coal-free by 2030,” said Kuba Gogolewski, Fundacja “Rozwój TAK – Odkrywki NIE. “Further conflict benefits nobody. The fines will fall on Polish taxpayers, PGE will inevitably face further legal challenges from Czech civil society, and the Bogatynia region will soon realise it's been hung out to dry.”

“The Polish government has so far refused reasonable requests to stop its Turow mine from damaging the water and homes of citizens in the Czech Republic and Germany. Ignoring a court order is outrageous,” said Zala Primc, Europe Beyond Coal campaigner. “The Polish government needs to immediately halt destructive mining, and address the underlying issues around Turow’s legality and impacts on water supplies. It needs to plan a fair closure of Turów, and the rest of its coal industry, by 2030 at the latest.”

Photo: Wolkenkratzer, CC BY-SA 4., Via Wikimedia Commons

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Our organizations jointly counteract the expansion of the open-cast Turów lignite mine in Poland for the benefit of local communities, nature and climate. We support civic activities undertaken by the international community at the interface of the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland. We strive to make the lignite-dependent Bogatynia enter the path of energy transition as well as economic and social transformation.

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