English Section

Polish PM says gov't won’t halt disputed mine despite court order

07.06.2023 11:30
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reiterated on Wednesday that his government would not halt operations at the country's Turów lignite mine despite a court order suspending its environmental licence.
Polands Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (left) speaks during a visit to the Turów lignite mine in the southwest of the country on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (left) speaks during a visit to the Turów lignite mine in the southwest of the country on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.Photo: PAP/Sebastian Borowski

Morawiecki was speaking during a visit to the contentious mine in the southwest of the country, alongside Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

"We will certainly not allow this mine to be closed," Morawiecki declared.

"We will do everything to ensure that it continues to operate until 2044," he added.

He told reporters: "No court will dictate to us, whether from Brussels or Warsaw, on what energy security means, what it means for the people who work here, the security of their families, financial security. These are fundamental issues for us."

Warsaw court verdict 'scandalous' and 'illegal': PM

Morawiecki said on Tuesday evening that the order issued by an administrative court in Warsaw was “scandalous” and “illegal,” and vowed that his government would “do everything” for it "to be cancelled."

The prime minister wrote on Facebook: “The government won’t accept the illegal judgement, issued the Regional Administrative Court in Warsaw ... ordering the Turów mine to halt operations.”

He added: “We can’t implement this verdict and will do everything for it to be cancelled.”

Mine will operate 'as long as needed' for energy security: gov't minister

Polish Climate and Environment minister Anna Moskwa said on Tuesday that the Turów lignite mine would operate “as long as needed” to ensure the country’s energy security and protect jobs, despite the court order.

Moskwa wrote on Twitter: “The Turów complex helps ensure energy security for Poland and the region for the coming years. The Polish government will not allow mining to be stopped. We won’t allow thousands of jobs to be lost for the people of the region.”

She added: “Mining will continue for as long as possible and needed.”

'Danger of significant damage to the environment'

Earlier on Tuesday, the Frank Bold Foundation, the environmental organisation Greenpeace and fellow green group Eko-Unia said in a joint statement that the Regional Administrative Court in Warsaw had suspended the Turów mine’s environmental licence due to “the danger of significant damage to the environment,” the PAP news agency reported.

The three NGOs added that “Poland’s Climate and Environment Ministry in February 2023 extended Turów’s lignite mining permit on the basis of this environmental licence."

In late 2022, the Frank Bold Foundation, Greenpeace and Eko-Unia challenged Turów’s environmental permit before the Regional Administrative Court in Warsaw, according to the PAP news agency.

The three NGOs noted that Tuesday's verdict can be appealed against to Poland’s Supreme Administrative Court, it said.

The Turów lignite mine. The Turów lignite mine. Photo: PAP/Maciej Kulczyński

Risk of 'extraordinary social and economic harm'

Poland's Minister for European Affairs, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, told state broadcaster TVP Info that Tuesday’s judgement by the Regional Administrative Court in Warsaw was “unenforceable, because it cannot be implemented without jeopardising Poland’s energy security.”

Szynkowski vel Sęk added that implementing the judgement would “cause extraordinary social and economic harm.”

He stated: “We’ll take all possible measures to have this judgement cancelled and we definitely won’t implement it."

The open-cast Turów lignite mine is located in southwestern Poland, near the Czech border.

The Czech Republic last year withdrew its legal complaint against Poland from the European Court of Justice after Warsaw paid the agreed compensation in a dispute over the Turów mine, according to reports at the time.

The Czech government in 2021 filed for an injunction with the European Court of Justice, saying the Turów mine was draining groundwater away from surrounding areas and harming Czech citizens.

The European Union's top court in September 2021 ruled that Poland must pay a EUR 500,000 daily fine to the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, for defying an earlier order to halt operations at Turów.


Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info