Poland should have evaluated Turow mine environment impact, CJEU official

Having prolonged the disputed Turow mine extraction licence for another six years without an environment impact analysis, Poland has violated EU laws, according to an Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

The open pit Turow mine, part of the largest Polish energy company PGE, lies on the border with Germany and the Czech Republic, and has been the subject of a complaint to the EU by the Czech Republic, which claims that it threatens the environment and, especially, ground water on the Czech side of the border.

In 2020, Climate Minister Michal Kurtyka prolonged the extraction licence for the mine for another six years, until 2026.

Last year, the Czech government took Poland to the CJEU, which, in September 2021, imposed a daily fine of EUR 500,000 on Poland for failing to suspend operations at the mine, but Poland has refused to close the mine or to pay up.

According to the CJEU official, in the case of mines, whose size is comparable to the Turow mine, the probability of their impact on the environment is very high and, as such, must be thoroughly evaluated.

An opinion issued by the CJEU Advocate General is not binding for the court, which can issue a completely different ruling.