Press releases by Frank Bold Society
PGE claims that “according to this decision mining area would be reduced by half”, but from the maps and information available this is a disinformation - half of the area designated in 1993 has been already extracted. And now, according to their own words, they intend to extract the very rest of the lignite as intended before.
“This scandalous decision literally goes beyond borders: regarding its impacts as well as a scale on which the EU law is violated. We see that Poland is ready to do anything – bend, even violate legal norms – to run this mine for 24 additional years and to use up all lignite resources it contains, even if it is in direct opposition with obligations set out by the EU directives. If the directives would be complied with, we believe it would not be possible to approve this project” says Petra Urbanová, lawyer from Frank Bold.
Affected parties, including the Czech government, received updates about this case via Facebook and internet rather than from the Polish authorities.
Yesterday Polish authorities issued a decision, which enables further operation of the contested Turów mine, located near German and Czech borders. The decision came against explicit disagreement of the Czech government, despite alerts from European Parliamentarians and ongoing steps of the European Commission, which is investigating numerous violations of EU law.
The decision-making itself was secretive and no critical participants, such as the most affected Liberec region in northern Czechia, Czech Republic or NGOs were admitted. Therefore, neither the public nor the neighbouring states really know what the content of the decision is and how long is the period of prolonged mining.
“It is obvious that Poland does anything possible to continue with mining, regardless of both Polish and EU law. We are witnessing bending and direct violations of legal principles and norms to fit their plans. There is also a very limited access to all information, even the Czech government demands were refused. Such an approach jeopardises confidence in the rule of law, which is here to set clear relations and to protect people and environment” said Petra Urbanová, lawyer from Frank Bold.
On the EU level, based on the complaint filed by the Liberec region, European Commission already asked Poland to explain alleged violations of directives. At the same time, members of the European Parliament, Envi Committee, addressed a letter to Commissioner Sinkevičius calling for urgent investigation of EU law violations in the Turów case. They also raised the issue of incoherence as Poland is interested in a significant contribution from the EU Just Transition Fund. Also, a petition of 13 000 EU citizens is already being examined by the Petitions Committee under urgency procedure.
“Steps of European Commision and European Parliament gave us hope that voices of concerned citizens, the region and basically the whole state will be heard, and our water and health of our citizens will be protected. But it didn’t stop Poland from issuing the decision in prolongation of the mining. We believe that with this last drop European Commission will initiate the infringement procedure against Poland and submit the case to the European Court of Justice which is our last hope” said Jiří Löffelmann, Councilor of the Liberec Region.
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