The European Court of Justice has fined Poland 500 daily for lignite mining in Turow.000 Euro imposed. In May, the ECJ had imposed a production freeze following a lawsuit. Pol ignores the.
Lignite mining in the Polish open pit Turow
In the dispute over lignite mining in Poland’s Turow open pit mine near the German and Czech borders, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has increased the pressure on Poland. Warsaw has not stopped lignite mining despite interim ECJ order issued in May following a complaint from the Czech Republic, the ECJ said.
Therefore, Poland would have to pay from now on for each day that it does not comply with the order, 500.000 euros fine into the EU budget until the member state complies with the interim injunction and stops the funding. The final verdict in the case is to be made at a later date.
Court rejects Poland’s request
Since Poland did not implement the ECJ order from May, the Czech Republic had on 7. June requests that Poland pay five million euros to the EU for each additional day it fails to meet its obligations. Warsaw, in turn, applied for the injunction to be lifted, arguing that the country’s energy supply would be at risk if the Turow open-pit mine was shut down.
The Luxembourg court has now rejected Poland’s request and upheld the complaint from Prague. However, the judges set the amount of the daily fines much lower. The Czech Republic had sued the neighboring country, claiming that Polish open-pit mining near the border was having a negative impact on the local environment. The country complains that the license for the open pit mine was extended without required environmental impact assessments. The Czech government also fears that the groundwater level will drop. Residents of the border region also complained about nuisances caused by noise and dust.
Poland sticks to Turow open-cast lignite mine
The Turow open pit mine is also causing criticism in Germany. In the neighboring state of Saxony, environmental damage is feared as a result of a planned expansion. In March, it was discussed whether the German government would therefore join the Czech Republic’s lawsuit as a so-called intervener.
Poland to continue to resist
The Polish government immediately made it clear after the ECJ decision that it would not close the open pit mine. Government spokesman Piotr Mueller said, according to the agency PAP, the fine was disproportionate to the situation and was not justified. The Polish Ministry of the Environment had extended the operating permit for the opencast lignite mine for six years in March 2020. The EU Commission criticized Poland in December for underestimating the environmental impact and misinforming its neighbors.
Coal has been mined in Turow since 1904. Polish energy company PGE, majority state-owned, wants to extend mining until 2044. For this purpose, the open pit mine is to be extended by five square kilometers and deepened to up to 330 meters.
Poland on confrontation with the EU
The leadership in Warsaw is at odds with the EU on many issues, including the PiS government’s controversial judicial reform, which the EU sees as threatening to undermine the rule of law. But the planned tightening of abortion law and discrimination against LGBT people also leads to conflicts with the EU.