The situation in Turów has been dynamic for the last few days, and as they pass, we can expect further twists and turns. Media are constantly commenting on the situation; however, it is easy to get lost in the turmoil. Below you can find the highlights from June 5 to 11. For those looking for a more detailed insight into the current situation, we recommend the article „Problem z Turowem i polskim węglem – 10 faktów”.
The European Commission decided to join the suit as a party to the lawsuit filed by the Czech Republic against Poland. The opposition against the operations in Turów mine is growing stronger.
The Commission decided to intervene before The Court of Justice of the EU in the case C-121/21 Czech Republic v. Poland in the main proceedings. June 9 the Commission filed a motion to intervene with the CJEU - informs the Commission Spokesperson's Service.
- The Commission’s aim is to maintain before the CJEU its position as expressed in reasoned opinion on 17 December 2020. It this opinion the Commission considered a number of the Czech Republic’s complaints as well-founded - as noted by the Commission’s Spokesperson, Vivian Loonela. While talking with RMF FM she also added that the European Commission is still closely monitoring Poland’s’ compliance with the order of CJEU regarding the immediate discontinuation of lignite mining in Turów mine.
- What is happening around Turów should be considered a complete diplomatic downfall of the government. The Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki deceived the society claiming that after the negotiations in Brussels the Czech government decided to withdrawn its motion. [...] The only solution to this situation is energetic transformation. The coal era is the sign of the past and we cannot hold on to the coal’s status quo - stated Joanna Flisowska, the head of the Climate & Energy department at Greenpeace
- Two days ago, PGE announced the closure date for over 5 GW Bełchatów power station. Such power is 2.5 times greater than what comes from Turów power plant. Obviously, Turów power plant won’t be operating by 2044 either. PGE has to officially admit it in order to show some goodwill towards our neighbours and the European Commission in the negotiations - emphasizes Kuba Gogolewski from “Rozwój Tak - Odkrywki NIE” Foundation.
Following the CJEU decision from May 25, Poland was supposed to immediately suspend the extraction at Turów mine. The Polish government commenced the negotiations with the Czech Republic to regarding withdrawal of the complaint. However, at the same time, Prime Minister Morawiecki announced that the mine would not cease to operate; ergo, Poland will not act in accordance with the decision of the CJEU.
In response to this declaration, the Czech side announced they will request a €5 million penalty for each day of delay in suspending the extraction in Turów.
Instead of paying this amount of money to the Czech side, the Polish government should as fast as possibly invest it in the development of protection programmes for Bogatynia and Zgorzelec, which are about to face structural collapse caused by years of negligence and misguided foreign and energetic policies.
In spite of numerous disagreements between the Polish and Czech governments, the negotiations are still ongoing. On June 10, Martin Smolek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic claimed that “the agreement between the Czech Republic and Poland regarding Turów should include regular monitoring of the situation at this lignite mine conducted by the Czech experts”. This agreement is also supposed to include the commitment of the Polish side to provide all the necessary information regarding the impact of the mine, the construction of a protective wall and an earth rampart. Poland will also be obliged to fund the creation of new fresh water sources as well as to strengthen those already existing on the Czech side of the boarder.
Early elections for the Mayor of the City and Commune of Bogatynia will be held on Sunday, June 13. There are 6 candidates running for office: Artur Bohdanowicz, Wojciech Dobrołowicz, Grzegorz Kina, Ireneusz Kropidłowski, Artur Oliasz and Artur Sienkiewicz.
The representants of Eko-Unia association send an open letter to all the candidates on June 9. The letter included all the questions that are crucial for the citizens of the region regarding further plans on Turów, the transformation and the future of the city. Among others:
What is your take on the international conflict concerning the operating of Turów, and what steps do you intend to take in order to ease the conflict with the Czech Republic as the mayor?
Due to the negative impact of Turów mine on the underground waters on the Czech side, as well as due to the climatic policy of the UE, Bogatynia should consider the scenarios where the Turów mine and power plant will be shut down earlier. In what year, in your opinion, would it be optimal to shut down the complex early?
What options do you see regarding the earlier cessation of the complex, taking in the consideration that the closing date will have an impact on the possibility for the region to benefit from the Just Transition Fund (JTF)?
What are your ideas on the Bogatynia development in the following decade?
What is your position on replacing Turów power plant with renewable energy sources and using the open pit to build pumped hydroelectric energy storage facility?
What is your opinion on the protection and use of the touristic attractions of Opolna-Zdrój, the timbered houses and other cultural and architectural monuments of Łużyce?
As of June 11, none of the candidates responded.
- It does not speak well of the candidates; the responses to those questions on the future of Bogatynia, the date of closing the mine, getting the funds from UE and on supporting the culture is what the citizens are most interested in now. This is the priority for the people living in Bogatynia, so the lack of response from the politicians’ side, who want to face these issues, comes as a surprise - comments Katarzyna Kubiczek from EKO-UNIA assotiation.