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We are at risk of a Polish-Czech conflict over the expansion of the Turów Mine

What is more important: water or lignite?
Statement of the Ecological Association EKO-UNIA

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We are at risk of a Polish-Czech conflict over the expansion of the Turów Mine

Citizens and environmental organizations have emphasized the negative impact of the Turów Mine on the environment, including poor air quality, i.e. the presence of toxic suspended particulate matter and drying of drinking water intakes in the Czech Republic.

Hanna Schudy, an activist of EKO-UNIA says - We also point out that in the age of climate disaster counting on the fact that, producing electricity,  we will burn lignite and emit CO2 from Turów until the middle of the 21st century is irresponsible.

The Czech authorities have enough! There is a common front established by the Starosts of the cities of Frydland and Chrastava, the self-government of the Liberec Region, the Czech Ministry of the Environment and lawyers who demanded from the Lower Silesian Voivode to repeal the change in the spatial development plan of the Bogatynia Commune allowing the expansion of the Turów opencast mine. The Czech senator and starost, Michael Canov, points out that "(...) the Czech side is fighting for the Polish side to comply with the law on its own territory” (Official press release of the self-government of the Liberec Region, 1 July, 2019).

There are words of opposition against expanding the opencast mining and depriving Czech people of drinking water. The Czech Republic is valuing over PLN 10 million in investment costs necessary to bring water from the Jizera Mountains, which will be taken away by the opencast mining. According to the "polluter pays" principle, these costs should be borne by the Turów Mine.

Until last week it seemed that only Czechs had problems with drinking water around Turów.  However, the depression cone and drought in Poland are the result of many years of exploitation of the deposit in Turoszów. This is confirmed by the data of hydrogeologists. In the second half of June, drought and hot weather as well as increased water intake by the commune residents, the mine and the Turów power plant caused the drainage of two own intakes of Bogatynia drinking water. As a result, water supply interruptions and a radical deterioration of its quality occurred. According to information from the session of the Bogatynia Commune Council, the norms of drinking water contamination with iron were exceeded periodically by 250% and with manganese by 100%. The information chaos that exposes the residents of the city to the use of water unfit for human consumption caused the amazement of councillors, as well as ours.  We are also surprised by the terrible condition of the water supply infrastructure, regular failures and water leaks (70% of transmission pipes are about 50 years old) in one of the richest Polish communes, namely the commune of Bogatynia. It was documented reliably in its materials and broadcasts from the commune council meeting by the local but independent TV Bogatynia Paweł Pomian, member of the EKO-UNIA board, also of the Zieloni political party: "I am surprised that during 4,5-hour extraordinary session of the commune council, we do not speak openly about problems with water in the context of drought, to which the Turów open-cast mine contributes not only to neighbours but also to Poland."

Polish environmental organizations repeat to the authorities of the communes and the provinces as well as to PGE: it is time to get out of the mine to the sun.  "Large EU funds in the Coal Platform are waiting to support a fair transformation of regions that are leaving coal. The upcoming meeting is in Brussels on 13-14 July. Today is a place for politics for the Mayor of Bogatynia” - says Radosław Gawlik, vice president of the Coalition "Development Yes. Open-cast mining No', involved in the Movement for Energy Transition across Divides

Contact:
Hanna Schudy
Paweł Pomian
Radosław Gawlik

Appendix:
Translation of the official press release of the self-government of the Liberec Region (1.07.19)
The local self-government of the Liberec Region and the Czech Ministry of the Environment demand the cancellation of the new spatial development plan of Bogatynia, which allows the extension of the Turów mine. Approving the plan was against the law.
01/July/2019

Representatives of the local self-government authorities of the Liberec Region, the Czech Ministry of the Environment and the Frank Bold organization as well as Starosts of Frýdlant and Chrastava discussed further joint actions regarding the planned extension  of the lignite opencast mine in Turów.

Last week we were surprised by the information that Bogatynia approved the change of the spatial development plan without taking into account comments from the authorities of the Liberec Region - said Jiří Löffelmann, representative for the environment, agriculture and regional development from the region's self-government. The activities of the Polish city authorities are illegal. We have determined that the ministry will use all available means to undermine the decision of the councillors of Bogatynia - emphasizes the hetman, Martin Půta (equivalent of the Polish Marshal of the Provincial Parliament). We do not even exclude an international complaint - he adds.

We are working together to ensure that the inhabitants of the Frýdlant region are not deprived of access to drinking water. We consider the activities of the Polish General Directorate for Environmental Protection (GDOŚ) as at least non-standard. GDOŚ received from us a clear message about interstate consultations that have not been completed yet. Therefore, last week, we asked GDOŚ to revoke the approved change  of the spatial development plan. We also asked for a meeting in July with the Polish side - explains the plans of the Ministry Evžen Doležal, Director of the Department of Environmental Impact Assessment and Integrated Permits.

It's sad that the Czech side is fighting for the Polish side to comply with the law on its own territory - said the senator and starost of Chrastava, Michael Canov, who was joined by the starost of the city of Frýdlant, Dan Ramzer: We are deeply opposed to the project of extending the open-cast mine and we will do everything to minimize its impact on the life of the inhabitants of the region. Our Water supply company is preparing to provide them access to water.

I am also seeking a meeting with the Polish ambassador in Prague, Ms. Barbara Ćwioro. I would not like the extension of the opencast mine to translate into a deterioration of the currently good Czech-Polish relations, which is why I will ask the ambassador to let the Polish side do everything possible to prevent such a situation - said hetman Půta.
At the request of the authorities of the Liberec Region, the Czech Ministry of the Environment asked for an extension of the deadline for submitting comments on the project to expand the Turów open-cast mine until July 14, 2019. According to the comments, the local government will also demand a public hearing - in the Czech Republic and in the Czech language.

Andrea Fulková / andrea.fulkova@kraj-lbc.cz

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2019-08-04 11:37:19
Wrocław
Andrzej
The Czech authorities have enough!
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