Poland refuses to close disputed coal mine despite EU court penalty

(EurActiv, 21 Sep 2021) Poland vowed to keep its disputed Turów coal mine running despite being hit with a €500,000 daily penalty for defying an earlier court ruling to halt operations on Monday (20 September).

Europe’s top court, the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), ordered the penalty, which should be paid to the European Commission, on Monday.

“Such a measure appears necessary in order to strengthen the effectiveness of the interim measures decided upon in the order of 21 May 2021 and to deter that Member State from delaying bringing its conduct into line with that order,” according to the Court.

It comes as part of an ongoing court case by the Czech Republic against Poland over the impact of the Turów open-pit mine that sits next to their shared border.

The mine, which produces lignite, or brown coal, has been operating for more than a century, but has recently expanded further towards the Czech border and is allegedly impacting the Czech water supply.

In May, the Court ordered the mine to be temporarily closed until the case was decided, but Poland has refused to do so.

Prague and Warsaw are currently locked in dragging negotiations on how to resolve the situation. The Czech government is asking Poland to cover the cost of constructing new sources of water and provide all available information about the mining impacts.  A deal should end any legal disputes.

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EurActiv, 21 Sep 2021: Poland refuses to close disputed coal mine despite EU court penalty