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21 stycznia 2021

Opencast lignite mining in Turow causes dispute at EU level among neighboring states in the border triangle. Now also official complaint to the EU Commission from Germany

Saxony. 21.01.2021 - Today, governing officials and citizens of the city of Zittau, as well as members of the Saxon State Parliament and the District of Görlitz, filed an official complaint about the Polish open pit mine in Turów with the EU Commission. The content of the complaint is the sinking of the city of Zittau due to the pumping of groundwater and further feared damage to the region.

This was preceded in March 2020 by a complaint from the Czech region of Liberec.

Poland systematically violates EU law

With the complaint now filed from Saxony, the list of accusations becomes longer. 

Affected people from the city of Zittau no longer want to accept that their objections were ignored by the Polish side during the environmental impact assessment. They are provisionally repairing the walls of their houses and are afraid of a loss of stability and value.

In addition, the environmental impact assessment did not take into account the effects of climate change in any form. The associated further lowering of the groundwater level will also become a problem for agriculture in the region in the coming decades. The renaturation of the open pit mine after shutdown was also not considered in the environmental impact assessment. In the case of Turów, Polish law simply excluded these problems by granting a six-year special permit. No public participation was allowed in the process. There is no possibility of appeal. This type of special permit was equally granted for three other Polish open pit mines. Therefore, the systematic violation of EU directives established in Polish law is a central element of the complaint. Karsten Smid, energy campaigner for Greenpeace Germany, says: "Poland is using legal dodges to evade political responsibility. They can't continue to slow down the European coal phase-out."

Czech Republic considers legal action

In the Czech region of Liberec, the drinking water supply for thousands of people is also at risk. The Czech Republic is currently considering taking Poland to the European Court of Justice. In December, the EU Commission already confirmed that the approval of the open pit mine violated several European directives: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_2452.

It will now have to examine the further allegations from Sachen. It is becoming increasingly clear that Poland must take responsibility for these neighborly differences in the border triangle.

Greenpeace demands:

- A European coal phase-out by 2030 at the latest.

- The enforcement of EU law for the Turow open pit mine.

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