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The dispute over the mine in Turów. PGE GiEK filed a complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court

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PGE Górnictwo i Energetyka Conventionalna (PGE GiEK) filed a complaint to the Supreme Administrative Court against the decision regarding the Turów mine, the statement said. It was added that this is a response to the suspension by the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw of the implementation of the environmental decision issued for the mine in September 2022.

PGE GiEK, a company from the PGE Group, announced on Monday that it had filed a complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court in Warsaw against the “scandalous decision regarding the Turów Mine” issued on May 31, 2023.

PGE GiEK about the Turów mine

“This is the company’s response to the suspension, in gross violation of the law, by the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw of implementing the decision on environmental conditions issued by GDOŚ (General Directorate for Environmental Protection – ed.) in September 2022. The environmental decision was appealed by organizations including With German and the Czech Republic,” the statement said.

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– Contested by organizations from, among others, Germany and Czech the environmental decision for the continuation of the exploitation of the “Turów” lignite deposit was issued by GDOŚ with the highest standards of care for the environment. In the administrative procedure, the participation of communities from Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany, as well as ecological organizations and representatives of local governments from the Czech Republic and Germany was ensured. By lodging a complaint against the court’s decision, PGE stands up for Turów and its further activities – emphasized Wojciech Dąbrowski, President of the Management Board of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, quoted in the release.

As noted, the decision issued by one person affects not only the energy security of the country, but also the employees of the Turoszów complex and the inhabitants of the south-western part of Lower Silesia.

“Alone Turow Mine in the years 2020-2022, it cooperated with almost 1,400 contractors who also make a living from the operation of the Turoszów mine. Coal from the Turów Mine is a fuel processed into electricity for almost 4 million households. In addition, electricity in units 1–6 of the Turów Power Plant is generated in high-efficiency cogeneration with heat generation, which secures, among others, heating needs and production of central utility water for the vast majority of the nearly 18,000-strong community in Bogatynia.

It was added that currently the Turów mine conducts mining operations on the basis of a license issued in 1994, amended in March 2020 to extend its validity until 2026.

Decision of the Provincial Administrative Court regarding the Turów mine

May 31 The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw issued a decision suspending – until the complaint is examined – the implementation of the environmental decision regarding the concession for coal mining for the mine in Turów after 2026. As the court emphasized, the decision does not suspend the operation of the Turów mine.

The suspension decision concerns the decision of the General Directorate of Environmental Protection of September 30, 2022 specifying the environmental conditions for the implementation of the project: “Continuation of exploitation of the Turów lignite deposit, implemented in the Bogatynia commune”. Complaints against the environmental decision were filed, among others, by Frank Bold Foundation, Greenpeace and EKO-UNIA Ecological Association.

The decision is not final and, in accordance with the regulations, the parties to the proceedings have the right to lodge a complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court within seven days from the date of delivery of a copy of the decision with justification. The decision expires on the date of the Court’s decision accepting the complaint or after the decision dismissing the complaint becomes final and binding.

In the opinion of the Provincial Administrative Court, there were reasons to suspend the execution of the challenged decision due to the possibility of irreversible damage to the environment. “It cannot be ruled out that the decision issued by GDOŚ is defective,” wrote Jarosław Łuczaj, judge of the Provincial Administrative Court, in the justification. According to the Provincial Administrative Court, “the possible continuation of the Turów open pit project before the prior inspection of the contested decision makes it probable that it will cause difficult and even irreversible damage to the environment and cause irreparable damage to property”.

“This court decision should result in the immediate suspension of any further implementation of the project in question,” wrote Judge Łuczaj in the justification.

The contested decision of GDOŚ partly repealed and partly upheld the decision of January 21, 2020 of the Regional Director for Environmental Protection in Wrocław on the environmental conditions for the implementation of the project “Continuation of exploitation of the ‘Turów’ lignite deposit”.

Appeals regarding the Turów mine

The decision of the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection, issued at the request of PGE Górnictwo i Energetyka Conventionalna, defined the environmental conditions for the continuation of mining in the Turów mine, owned by PGE GiEK. Successful appeals against this decision to GDOŚ were lodged, among others, by Polish, Czech and German branches of Greenpeace, Frank Bold Foundation, “Eko-Unia”, city of Zittau, Liberec Region. The complainants reported a number of circumstances and demanded that the decision of the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection be revoked and the environmental decision be refused.

As part of the changes, GDOŚ included in the decision that the option allowing for the extraction of 11.5 million tons of lignite per year in 2020-2038 and 7 million tons per year in 2039-2044 is allowed.

The GDOŚ has redefined, among other things: what the dust emission protection system should look like, when certain places in the mine should be sprinkled, what the noise barrier should look like and when it should be built, what environmental controls should be performed before the opencast is prepared, what reclamation should look like, where and when noise and water level measurements should be carried out. It was this decision of GDOŚ that became the subject of a complaint to the Provincial Administrative Court and the subsequent suspension of its execution by the court.

In 2020, based on the environmental decision of the Regional Directorate of Environmental Protection, the Minister of Climate extended the concession for the Turów mine to a limited extent until 2026. The administrative court, after complaints from environmental organizations, revoked at the beginning of 2022 the rigor of the immediate enforceability of the environmental decision. In February 2023, based on the decision of the GDOŚ of autumn 2022, the Minister of Climate and Environment extended the concession for Turów beyond 2026 – until 2044.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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