back to top

    PGG S.A. Celebrates Success Following Methane Reduction Decisions in Strasbourg

    Strasbourg witnessed a significant triumph on Tuesday, May 9th, as the European Parliament voted on the EU Methane Regulation project, which, if passed in its original form proposed by the European Commission, would have resulted in the closure of most coal mines in Poland in less than four years.

    Thanks to the joint efforts of Silesian Members of the European Parliament and the involvement of trade unions Solidarność, ZZG, and Kadra, the outcome of the vote (499 in favour, 73 against, with 55 abstentions) demonstrated a clear majority in support of the amendments agreed upon by the joint committees ENVI and ITRE (Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and Committee on Industry, Research, and Energy) in late April. Polish representatives managed to achieve a rare compromise among major factions in the European Parliament, including the ECR (European Conservatives and Reformists), EPP (European People’s Party), S&D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats), and Greens/EFA (Greens/European Free Alliance).

    The amendments significantly modified the original regulation

    Firstly, the emission limits for methane from mines were raised tenfold, shifting the accountability from individual facilities to operators. Additionally, the amendments allowed for the combustion of gas in flares with 99% efficiency. Most importantly, a crucial exception to the emission ban was added in Article 22, stating that emissions could occur when they posed a direct threat to the health and safety of miners or increased risks in mining operations.

    Secondly, the legislation redefined the penal provisions, enabling states to impose “fees and charges” on mines to enhance the effectiveness of emission reduction, ensuring that the funds would be reinvested in the mines. Furthermore, a new provision (added in Article 30) allowed for the reduction or exemption of fines under certain conditions during the implementation of emission reduction projects in mines.

    Thirdly, importers and exporters of gas, oil, and coal were subjected to comparable burdens, including the possibility of penalties and import suspensions.

    However, the entire agreement faced a potential collapse during the plenary session. Among the more than 270 proposed amendments were some that undermined the favourable version of the legislation for Polish coal. At the last moment, efforts were made to exempt importers from the regulations. Remarkably, during the debate held in Strasbourg on Monday, May 8th, not even the Greens attacked coal and mines, which was a novelty in the European Parliament.

    The only speaker who deviated and accused the members of a coal conspiracy was Mick Wallace, an Irish member from the Left group. He claimed that the revised project was more ambitious than the initial proposal since it also covered the import of hydrocarbons into the EU. He criticized the EPP for “supporting the far right behind closed doors” and “echoing the slogans of the coal lobby”.

    The European Parliament respects Poland’s coal phase-out plan

    Both rapporteurs of the project, Pascal Canfin from the liberal-democratic RE (Renew Europe) group and Jutta Paulus, a German Green MEP, emphasized the lack of an effective EU methane emissions regulation in the EU’s climate policy. They stressed the necessity of the regulation to reduce leaks and negligent methane emissions into the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas with a greater potential impact than carbon dioxide.

    Regarding coal, Jutta Paulus stated, “We have a very good compromise on coal, which takes into account the specificities in member states, especially in Poland. It includes all social arrangements for workers in the sector. I am glad that we managed to find this compromise and I thank everyone involved.”

    Maria Spyraki, a Christian Democrat MEP from Greece and one of the “shadow rapporteurs” or counter-rapporteurs representing different political groups, explained the essence of the corrections made in the new version of the regulation. She emphasized the aim of not excessively complicating the lives of users and entrepreneurs.


    -Sponsored article-

    More in section