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Parliamentary questions
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4 May 2010
by Judith A. Merkies (S&D)
to the Commission

 Subject: Immediate threat of damage to two vulnerable Natura 2000 sites in Poland (infringement procedure — Tomisławice mining project)
 Answer in writing 

Members of the European Parliament have received an urgent petition from Polish mayors, local farmers and environmental organisations concerning the planned construction of a new opencast lignite mine in Poland, called Tomisławice. According to the findings of two independent groups of researchers, from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan(1) and Nicholas Copernicus University in Torun(2), two Natura 2000 sites, the Gopło Lake and Ostoja Nadgoplańska, an important habitat for many protected species, could face dramatic environmental impacts due to the construction of the lignite mine.

Greenhouse gas emissions related to lignite from the mine are estimated to be in the region of 50 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents during the lifetime of the mine.

According to the petitioners, the Polish authorities have so far ignored the concerns raised by scientists and citizens in the permission procedure for the mine. In response, the mayor of the nearby locality Kruszwica submitted a complaint to the Commission in November 2008 concerning the failure to comply with Community Law, following a complaint submitted by local organisation Przyjezierze in August 2008.

The following questions are addressed to the Commission with urgency. The preparatory works for the mine, i.e. dehydration of the ground, are ongoing. This could have, according to the abovementioned university researchers, potentially major impacts on the Gopło Lake, due to contaminated mining water. The project developer has announced that construction of the mine will start in the next weeks.

1. Has the Commission dealt with the complaint by the mayor of Kruszwica and the Przyjezierze association concerning infringement of Directive 92/43/EEC(3) and Directive 2000/60/EC(4) in relation to permission for and construction of the Tomisławice lignite mine project in Poland? Did the Commission check if this permission was given respecting the environmental impact assessment procedures as laid down in Directive 85/337/EEC(5)?

2. Is the Commission prepared to follow up on this case with greater urgency, considering that already the ungoing preparatory construction work for the mine is deemed to be an immediate threat to a nearby Natura 2000 site and construction is announced to start soon?

(1)Burchard L. et al, ‘Habitat assessment of the impacts of the planned Tomisławice opencast mine on Nature 2000 areas: : the Goplo Lake PLH 040007 and Ostoja Nadgoplańska PLB 040004’. Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, January 2010.
(2)Igliński B. et al, ‘Comparative analysis of waters from Goplo Lake and mining waters from the planned Tomislawice open cast mine and prognosis of their mixing results’. Nicholas Copernicus University, Torun, January 2010.
(3)OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.
(4)OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1.
(5)OJ L 175, 5.7.1985, p. 40.

 OJ C 138 E, 07/05/2011
Informacja prawna - Polityka ochrony prywatności