The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment will file a lawsuit against Poland in connection with the expansion of the Turów lignite mine which, according to the Ministries is damaging communities on the Czech side of the border.
Turów is one of the four big lignite mines operating in Poland, owned and operated by state-owned utility Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE). It has been in operation for more than a century now, as the mining license has been extended multiple times.
Earlier in July, the Czech government turned to the European Commission to resolve the dispute and as efforts to halt the project have proved to be unsuccessful, Prague said to be ready to take the case to the European Court of Justice.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček said that he had been trying for a long time to resolve this dispute referring to the fact that apart from the noise and air pollution, the project could deprive 30,000 Czechs of drinking water
“The lawsuit is primarily aimed to protect the rights of Czech citizens,” echoed Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek, who is also the government’s representative at the EU Court of Justice. “Furthermore, Poland did not provide the Czech side with the necessary documents related to the mine and did not take into account the environmental impact assessment.”
In the meantime, Prague is ready to find a solution with Warsaw until the final verdict is given. Minister Petříček found it contradictory that while the whole European Union is addressing the issue of phasing out coal and lignite, Poland is actually expanding it, also considering that also Warsaw agreed to shut down its coal and lignite plants by 2049.
“Less than 30 years of mining are not worth losing water and homes in the area,” he said.
On the other hand, PGE claims that the expansion of the Turów mine complies with environmental standards and that it conducted consultations with all relevant stakeholders.
Photo: Minister Tomáš Petříček, Ministry of Foreign Affairs