Romania pilloried for coal power leniency

(28 Mar 2019) Romania could face legal action after environmental groups lodged a complaint with the EU over allegedly lax penalties against coal power polluters in the Eastern European country.

EU rules on industrial emissions say it is up to national governments to decide how to penalise installations that break pollution limits.

According to a complaint filed by green groups ClientEarth and Greenpeace Romania, fines handed down by the Romanian authorities against coal power plants are “pitiful” and are in some cases equal to the penalties levied against restaurants that allow diners to smoke indoors.

In a letter sent to the European Commission, the two groups said that fines of between €6,440 and €12,880 handed down to companies with annual turnovers of €86-400 million are “too low to deter them from operating illegally”.

Spain and Greece, by contrast, can issue penalties of up to €2 million to power plant owners that operate without a permit.

But Romania’s environment ministry told EURACTIV that the fines “are established by the legislature in accordance with Romania’s GDP and other national macroeconomic elements”.

The Romanian authorities can also apply complementary sanctions like suspension of operating activities, which the ministry described as “a strong and discouraging coercive measure”.

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, 28 Mar 2019: Romania pilloried for coal power leniency