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    Turow Coal Mine to Be Closed. Court Ruling Issued

    The ruling by the WSA (Voivodeship Administrative Court) overturning the environmental decision for the Turów lignite coal mine does not mean the suspension of the energy complex’s operations; the company is analyzing possible scenarios for further actions, PGE GiEK, the owner of the mine and power plant in Turów, reported.

    “PGE GiEK is awaiting the written justification of the judgment and is analyzing possible scenarios for further actions,” said PGE GiEK spokesperson Sandra Apanasionek. She emphasized that “the WSA ruling does not mean the suspension of the Turów energy complex’s operations, which will continue to supply electricity to the national power system.”

    The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw overturned on Wednesday the environmental decision of the General Director of Environmental Protection regarding the continuation of coal extraction in the Turów mine. The ruling is not final. The court noted that the decision does not result in the cessation or closure of the Turów mine, and the state’s energy policy was not subject to the court’s assessment.

    However, the WSA acknowledged that the sole reason for overturning the decision was the allegations relating to the agreement between the governments of Poland and the Czech Republic on cooperation regarding the effects of mining exploitation. The agreement was signed on February 3, 2022. “Such an agreement is significant for acts of law enforcement, and a decision on environmental conditions for project implementation is undoubtedly an act of law enforcement… Meanwhile, the authority in the challenged decision explicitly stated that it does not matter in this case. In the court’s opinion, such a stance is erroneous,” concluded Judge Jarosław Łuczaj of the WSA.

    The PGE GiEK spokesperson emphasized that the company diligently implements the provisions of the environmental decision. According to the latest information from the company, it has allocated approximately PLN 56.6 million for all mine activities resulting from the environmental decision, including a series of investments and pro-ecological activities aimed at reducing the mine’s impact on the nearby areas of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany.

    As PGE GiEK informs, one of the completed investments is an underground anti-filtration screen, built to limit the potential impact of the Turów open-pit mine on Czech water resources. According to the company, tests confirm that the underground barrier is fully functional and effective, with groundwater levels rising over 4.5 meters in observation wells located south of the mine, towards the Polish-Czech border. Acoustic and anti-dust screens are being constructed, modern environmental monitoring systems are being installed, conveyor belts are being replaced with silent ones, and new forest plantations are continuously being carried out.

    The case was initiated by complaints from environmentalists and German local government officials regarding the environmental decision of the General Director of Environmental Protection from September 30, 2022, concerning the “Continuation of exploitation of the Turów lignite deposit, carried out in the municipality of Bogatynia.”

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

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