Important judgment of the Provincial Administrative Court regarding the Turów mine. Will the facility be able to continue operating?

Luc Williams

The judgment regarding the environmental decision does not suspend the operation of the Turów mine; the state's energy policy was not subject to the court's assessment – explained the Provincial Administrative Court.

The verdict was supposed to be announced a week ago, but then the medical release of one of the judges from the adjudicating panel prevented it. The new date was then set by the Provincial Administrative Court for March 13 at 12.30.

The case was started by complaints from Germany

The case was initiated by complaints from ecologists and German local government officials from border areas regarding the environmental decision of the General Director for Environmental Protection of September 30, 2022, relating to “Continued exploitation of the Turów lignite deposit, carried out in the Bogatynia commune”.

The decision of GDOŚ, challenged in court, partially repealed and partially upheld the earlier environmental decision on this matter issued by the Regional Director for Environmental Protection in Wrocław. In February 2023, based on the decision of GDOŚ from autumn 2022, the Minister of Climate and Environment extended the concession for Turów beyond 2026 – until 2044.

This procedure has been going on for many months, and it became famous when at the end of May last year. The Provincial Administrative Court suspended – until this complaint is examined – the execution of the environmental decision regarding the coal mining license for the mine in Turów after 2026. “In the court's opinion, there were grounds for suspending the execution of the contested decision due to the possibility of irreversible damage to the environment,” the Provincial Administrative Court informed then. , although at the same time he emphasized that the issued decision did not suspend the operation of the Turów mine. The Provincial Administrative Court added then that “it cannot be ruled out that the decision issued by… GDOŚ is defective.”

“This is not a judgment only for the mine, it is a judgment for 60,000 people who work here; any judgment that destabilizes the energy system is an illegal judgment; we will not allow the Polish mining industry to be closed down,” said the then Prime Minister. Mateusz Morawieckiassessing the decision of the Provincial Administrative Court of the end of May last year

Then, an appeal against the Provincial Administrative Court's decision was filed by: General Director for Environmental Protection, as an authority; PGE Mining and Conventional Energyas an investor and National Prosecutor's Office, which then joined the case before the administrative court.

In mid-July last year The Supreme Administrative Court took into account these complaints and revoked the decision to suspend the implementation of the environmental decision regarding Turów. He stated that suspending the implementation of the decision on environmental conditions “is only possible until the next stage of the investment process has been completed”, i.e. until one of the subsequent decisions has been issued. He pointed out that in this case, a decision of this type was the decision of the Minister of Climate and Environment of February 17 last year. regarding concessions.

The Provincial Administrative Court was supposed to hear the actual complaint against the environmental decision at the end of August last year. However, the case was then suspended. The reason for such a decision at that time was the lack of a valid conclusion of the proceedings pending at the same time before the General Directorate for Environmental Protection following the request of PGE GiEK to change the contested environmental decision. During the hearing before the Provincial Administrative Court on August 31 last year. it turned out that even before ecologists appealed against the environmental decision, the investor (PGE GiEK) submitted an application to GDOŚ to change this decision. Later, PGE GiEK withdrew this application, and as a result, GDOŚ issued a decision to discontinue the administrative proceedings in this case.

Complaints against the decisions of GDOŚ

A number of allegations were made in complaints against the GDOŚ decisions. They point out, for example, the lack of repetition of the public consultation procedure despite the changes introduced to the RDOŚ decisions, and the imprecise and arbitrary data relating to the noise level and water quality.

The representative of GDOŚ replied at the hearing in February, among other things, that the decision was issued after many years of proceedings that met the legal requirements, and that the proceedings were also of a cross-border nature, taking into account the voice of the inhabitants of the surrounding regions of Germany and the Czech Republic.

However, both sides emphasized before the Provincial Administrative Court that the judgment to be issued by the administrative court “will be burdened with enormous responsibility.”

Environmental organizations also appealed to the Provincial Administrative Court the subsequent decision of the Ministry of Climate of February 17 last year. regarding the concession for the extraction of brown coal and associated minerals from the Turów deposit. In this decision, the ministry changed the deadline for granting concessions from April 30, 2026 and set it until April 27, 2044.

Last June However, the Provincial Administrative Court informed that the proceedings regarding complaints against the decision on the concession for Turów had been suspended until the final resolution of a parallel case related to this mine, i.e. the complaint of ecologists against the implementation of the environmental decision of the General Directorate for Environmental Protection. (PAP)

author: Marcin Jabłoński


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