The extension of the license for the Turów open pit mine has not gone unnoticed in Europe. The President of the European Parliament assures that he will monitor the situation. At the same time, the Czech government is considering suing the Polish authorities.
1. The President of the European Parliament responds in the Turow case
The President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, responded to the letter from members of the European Parliament (MEPs) regarding the extension of the license granted to PGE by the Polish government for the “Turów” lignite mine in Bogatynia. In the e-mail he noted that “according to the received information, also included in multiple written questions submitted by Members and as reported in the press the extension of the license is alleged to be in multiple breach of several acts of EU environment legislation. More concretely, the alleged violations would concern the Water Framework Directive (WFD) including the transboundary impact of the extension to surface and underground waters and the Noise Directives". He also assured that both he and the European Parliament “remain attached to the objective of a sustainable Europe and in particular to the target of a climate neutral Europe by 2050 and will monitor the situation closely with the hope to achieve an optimal result for the citizens concerned”.
European Commission has already launched an administrative procedure (known as EU Pilot) for this matter, in an effort to receive information from Polish authorities regarding the exact circumstances of the extension and of the project itself. In some cases and depending on the response of the national authorities, such a procedure may lead to the initiation of formal judicial proceedings. Furthermore, the Commission launched in 2015 an infringement procedure against Poland for the incorrect application of the WFD, which is still pending.
2. Czech Republic is considering suing Poland for Turów concession
Czech Republic questions prolongation of Turów lignite mining concession. Czech officials consider Turów to interfere with water supplies on the Czech side. Czech Republic is facing the most severe drought in 500 years, and Czech minister of environment Richard Brabec admitted that “regional wells are practically empty”
Czech Foreign Ministry is considering its legal options against Poland for prolongation of Turów lignite mining concession. Previous concession expired at the end of April this year. According to the Czech analysis the operations at the Turów mine are illegal after that expiration date due to numerous violations of Polish and European laws. After the debate at the European Affairs Committee MPs adopted a resolution in which they expressed deep concern with the current situation. They obliged the Foreign Ministry to prepare legal analysis pertaining to potential lawsuit and to inform European Affairs Committee and Environment Committee of the Czech Parliament by the end of June at the latest.
“Previous negotiations with our Polish partners were unsuccessful. That is why we want to file a lawsuit for violation of international law by our Polish neighbor” said local representative from Liberec Jiri Loffelman.
3. Webinar with Members of the European Parliament and national parliamentarians about Turów
Due to COVID-19 limitations a breakfast at the European Parliament about the situation in Turów planned for mid-March has been cancelled. Instead the webinar “Thirsty for justice.
Enforcing EU water laws to defend communities from coal” will be held on 12 June, 3 p.m.
Europe’s supply of clean, safe water is under major stress, and coal is one of the culprits. At the Polish border with Czech Republic and Germany, the Turów mine is drying up water resources from two countries, and threatening the groundwaters of a whole region, in breach of EU laws.
Join us for a webinar to explore the impacts of coal mining on water, and how the implementation the EU Water Framework Directive can help take Europe beyond coal.
Speakers will include MEP Anna Cavazzini, MEP Tomáš Zdechovský, Polish MP Anita Sowińska, a representative from the European Commission (TBC), and local and regional authorities representing the communities impacted by the Turów mine.
The webinar is organised with the support of Foundation „Development Yes - Open-pit Mines No”" and Frank Bold Society.
Save the date and join the discussion:
4. Turów has no economic future
On top of the European Parliament and European Commission official procedures with Turów mine at its center and protest from the activists and international community more and more opinion leaders in Poland voice their concern that the Turów mine and power plant would be shut down earlier than the Polish government projects. A very strong argument is the coal and lignite sector’s declining profitability. As experienced by the coal utilities across Poland rising costs of energy production at the Turów power plant contributed to declining production of electricity. Further, cost increases will contribute to a total shutdown of the lignite mine and the neighboring power plant. In light of this the efforts by PGE GiEK to prolong the concession until 2044 seem to be unfounded. Instead of fighting reality, PGE should prepare a re-cultivation plan for the site and a transition plan for employees who would lose their jobs due to worsening economics of the Turów power plant and mine complex.