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Poland extends Turow coal mine licence to 2044 despite international outcry

30 Apr 2021 (Last Updated April 30th, 2021 12:22)

Poland has extended the licence for the Turow open-pit coal mine, located outside Bogatynia, until 2044, despite international outcry.

Poland has extended the licence for the Turow open-pit coal mine, located outside Bogatynia, until 2044, despite international outcry.

Owned and operated by state-owned utility Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), the mine has been in production for more than 115 years since 1904.

The approval by Poland’s Climate Ministry has raised concerns from neighbouring countries Czech Republic and Germany, as well as environmental campaigners who claim that the licence extension violates EU laws and could worsen the climate crisis.

About 25 NGOs and citizens are now urging European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Green Deal executive vice-president Frans Timmermans to initiate an action against the country.

European Parliament Greens/European Free Alliance parliamentary group member Anna Cavazzini said: “It is the responsibility of the European Commission to enforce compliance with EU law by all the Member States.

“We, therefore, ask the European Commission to initiate an infringement procedure against Poland and to work to find a lasting solution between the three neighbouring countries.”

This February, a lawsuit was filed by the Czech Republic against Poland regarding the expansion of the Turow mine, claiming that it could damage communities on the Czech side of the border.

The move was triggered after the mine received a six-year licence extension issued in March 2020.

The Court of Justice of the European Union is due to announce its decision on the Turow coal mine in early next month.

Meanwhile, PGE said the immediate closure of the Turow mine could result in economic problems while affecting the country’s power system stability, reported Reuters.

Poland is the only EU nation that failed to commit to the 2050 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target set in 2019.