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Monday, June 24, 2024

Turów Mine. There is a decision of the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw regarding the proceedings

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The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw suspended the proceedings regarding the environmental decision of the General Directorate for Environmental Protection (GDOŚ) regarding the Turów mine until the formal conclusion of the case of the application of PGE Górnictwo i Energetyka cjonalna to change this environmental decision.

On Thursday, the administrative court was to deal with complaints from environmental organizations regarding the decision of the General Director for Environmental Protection of September 30, 2022 specifying the environmental conditions in the case Turów mine. The court decided to stay the proceedings.

“The reason for the suspension is the ongoing other proceedings regarding the discontinuation of the application for a change in the conditions contained in the decision, and more precisely, the waiting for the discontinuation of the application for these changes submitted by PGE to become final. It is not known when it will become final, because the time for submitting complaints regarding these changes has not yet passed. redemption” – explained Paweł Łukasik, TVN24 reporter.

Complaints against the environmental decision were filed, among others, by Frank Bold Foundation, Greenpeace and EKO-UNIA Ecological Association. The accusations of these organizations concern, among others, the investor’s report on the environmental impact, which was the basis for issuing the decision by GDOŚ.

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The contested decision of GDOŚ partially repealed and partially upheld the decision of January 21, 2020 of the Regional Director for Environmental Protection in Wrocław on the environmental conditions for the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

Minister of Climate and Environment Anna Moscow in February 2023, based on the decision of the GDOŚ of autumn 2022, extended the concession for Turów beyond 2026 – until 2044.

Turow MineDarSzach/Shutterstock

President of PGE on the environmental decision

The President of the Management Board of PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, Wojciech Dąbrowski, assured in June that “complained by organizations, including from German and the Czech Republic, the environmental decision to continue the exploitation of the ‘Turów’ lignite deposit was issued by GDOŚ while maintaining the highest standards of environmental care.” – The participation of the Polish community was ensured in the administrative proceedings, Czech and Germany, as well as ecological organizations and representatives of local governments from the Czech Republic and Germany – he said.

Recently, the Provincial Administrative Court received the position of the National Prosecutor’s Office regarding complaints from environmental organizations. According to the National Prosecutor’s Office, these complaints should be dismissed by the court “due to the finding that the content of the decision of the environmental authority complies with applicable law” and “the allegations against the environmental report prepared by the mine investor are unfounded.”

“The evidence collected in the case shows that the investor used solutions to minimize the mine’s impact on the environment. This also applies to the impact on surface and underground waters. Importantly, the investor also made a correct risk assessment regarding the so-called cumulative impact, taking into account the existence of a nearby power plant, the so-called external dump or gypsum warehouse, which are adjacent to the mine,” the prosecutor argued in his position on this case for the administrative court.

Return of the case of the Turów mine

The proceedings became famous due to the May decision of the Provincial Administrative Court (WSA) in Warsaw. The court then suspended the execution of the environmental decision regarding the coal mining license for the mine in Turów after 2026 until the relevant complaint was examined.

“In the court’s opinion, there were grounds to suspend the implementation of the contested decision due to the possibility of irreversible damage to the environment,” the Provincial Administrative Court informed then, although at the same time it emphasized that the issued decision did not suspend the operation of the Turów mine. The Warsaw court then added that “the probability that the decision issued by GDOŚ is defective cannot be ruled out.”

At that time, complaints against the Provincial Administrative Court’s decision were filed by: the General Director for Environmental Protection, as the authority; PGE Górnictwo i Energetyka Obywatelalna, as the investor, and the National Prosecutor’s Office, which then joined the case before the administrative court.

In mid-July this year. The Supreme Administrative Court (NSA) accepted these complaints and revoked the decision to suspend the execution of the environmental decision in the Turów case. He stated that suspending the implementation of the decision on environmental conditions “is only possible until the next stage of the investment process has been completed”, i.e. until one of the subsequent decisions has been issued. He pointed out that in this case, a decision of this type was the decision of the Minister of Climate and Environment of February 17 this year. amending the license for coal mining from the “Turów” deposit.

The Supreme Administrative Court also noted that “suspending the implementation of the decision on environmental conditions does not create grounds for revoking the license.” – Only the final repeal or change of the decision on environmental conditions may affect the legal existence of the license issued in this case – explained the Supreme Administrative Court.


Main photo source: DarSzach/Shutterstock

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