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Mining in Turów: Seven demands for an agreement with Poland to protect the Czech communities

The Frank Bold Society and the Neighbourhood Association Uhelná called on the Czech government today to be more consistent in its negotiations with Poland over mining at the Turów brown coal mine. According to both organisations, the government did not have enough information or time to prepare an agreement that would truly protect Czech interests. Moreover, the government has acted in a non-transparent manner by failing to inform the public in advance of the terms of the agreement being prepared, which should lead to the withdrawal of the action against Poland at the EU Court of Justice. The organisations have therefore drawn up a document with seven basic demands on which the Czech side should insist.

In particular, Frank Bold and the Neighbourhood Association Uhelná jointly call for mining to be suspended until its impact on the Czech territory, which is getting worse by the day, is proven demonstrably. The obligation to suspend mining in view of the irreversible damage to the environment and the health of the local population was ordered by the EU Court of Justice already three weeks ago, but mining is still ongoing.

Frank Bold's lawyers point out that the Czech Republic does not currently have all the data and information necessary to determine the terms of the agreement, and in particular does not know the real impact of mining on the Czech territory. Under these conditions, it is not even possible to assess which measures are necessary to prevent the negative impact of mining on the Czech territory. The action can be withdrawn only after the Polish party has demonstrated that the resumption of mining will no longer cause damage to the Czech territory. At the same time, the Czech Republic should invite the European Commission, which has joined the lawsuit and supports the Czech claims, to negotiate an agreement.

"We call on the government not to conclude a hasty agreement in the time gap created so that Poland does not have to pay sanctions or suspend production. In the short time period of three weeks that has elapsed since the preliminary injunction was issued by the EU Court of Justice, it is impossible to assess the current impact of mining on the Czech territory and to evaluate the requirements necessary to avert further damage," said Petra Urbanová, a lawyer with Frank Bold Society, who has been working on the case for a long time.

"We have felt the impact of mining on the Czech-Polish border for many years. Yet we still do not have important data and information. A hastily drafted agreement without an analysis of the problem cannot sufficiently protect the interests of Czech citizens. The government would be playing Russian roulette with Czech water, citizens and the environment," said Milan Starec from the Neighbourhood Association Uhelná, who lives with his family directly in the affected region in the Liberec Region.

Seven demands for an agreement with Poland that would protect Czech communities

1. Illegal mining must be stopped immediately until its impact on the Czech territory is proven

2. The actual impact of mining on the Czech territory must be identified and assessed

3. Poland must present alternatives to the mining plan other than the one that envisages mining until 2044 and bringing it within 70 metres of the Czech territory

4. Poland must present a proposal for measures that will demonstrably protect Czech communities, in particular preventing further declines in groundwater levels

5. The Czech Republic must demand further conditions with specific deadlines and sanctions to ensure the protection of the Czech territory after the withdrawal of the lawsuit.

6. The Czech Republic must set conditions for negotiating an agreement with Poland that are not to be exceeded. If they are not met, it must continue the proceedings already started.

7. Negotiations with Poland must be conducted in close coordination with the European Commission.

Detailed requirements can be found here.

Read about the impact of mining in Turów on Czech citizens on waterorcoal.org.

Contact

Kristína Šabová

Lawyer, Head of the Responsible Energy Section