Defence of the Turów complex in the European Parliament
In just a few weeks, the European Parliament's Complaints and Petitions Committee will consider the petition in defence of the Turów complex, signed by around 30,000 people, supporters of the operation of the Turów Mine and power plant, branches of PGE Górnictwo i Energetyka Konwencjonalna from the PGE Group.
The actions of collecting signatures, initiated by PGE, were jointly and severally engaged by residents of the surrounding poviats, scouts as well as PGE GiEK employees and community representation. Signatures were also collected in parishes and by scouts. The petition is a response to a complaint signed by the inhabitants of the Liberec Region regarding shitting down Turów Mine submitted to the European Parliament. In the petition of the Polish side, the social aspect was emphasized. It also drew attention to the much larger lignite mines operating in the Czech Republic and Germany. On 23 June, the petition in defence of the Turów complex was handed over to Anna Zalewska, Member of the European Parliament. The further operation of the Turów Committee on Petitions was the subject of a debate in the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions on 14 July. In a few weeks' time, the matter will be considered by the EP Complaints and Petitions Committees.
We are dealing with a great manifestation of the solidarity of the Polish society, which is against unfair treatment. We do not agree to the expectations that Poland, as the only European country, will close its lignite mines within 10 years, while other countries - richer than Poland - have much more time to do so. We will defend Polish interests on the international arena - as emphasized by Anna Zalewska, Member of the European Parliament, during the transfer of the petition.
Opponents of the liquidation of the Turów complex followed with great concern the actions of their Czech neighbours, supported mainly by environmental organizations from the Czech Republic, the effect of which was to lead to the closure of the Turów mining and energy complex. In a petition, the inhabitants of the region expressed their concern about the actions of the Czech side, which questions the legitimacy of the operation of the Mine and thus the Turów Power Plant, which employs approximately 5,000 inhabitants of the region. In addition, they noted that another 10,000 people work in the companies operating for the complex.
We will do everything to make the Turów complex continue to function in the interests of the inhabitants of Lower Silesia. Our actions are supported by rational arguments, which we presented to our neighbours many times as part of long-term public consultations, also with the participation of residents of Germany and the Czech Republic. We talked there about the measures that will be taken to eliminate the potential impact of the Turoszów opencast mine on the border areas. Currently, the construction of a nearly 1,200-meter-long underground screen, which is already 70% ready, is underway and it will protect the water intake in the Czech town of Uhelna against the potential impact of the Turów Mine. From the beginning of works on the extension of the license, the protection of water resources was a priority for us - as underlined by Wioletta Czemiel-Grzybowska, President of the Management Board of PGE Górnictwo i Energetyka Konwencjonalna.
The correctness of the arguments of the supporters of the operation of the Turów Mine and power plant is confirmed by the independent opinion of the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management of the National Research Institute, which shows that the weather conditions, not the activity of the Turów Lignite Mine, have the main impact on the water resources at the Czech border. The 30-year observation of scientists also shows that the mountain area of Worka Żytawski, where the Turoszów energy complex is located, is particularly vulnerable to hydrological droughts. The study contains an analysis of data and observations made on the basis of long-term measurement results from many rainfall and water gauge stations located in the Turów Mine and in its vicinity, on the Polish and Czech sides of the border. In the study, the experts of the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management also emphasized that currently the drought should be analysed not only as a natural phenomenon, but as a synergy of natural climatic conditions and human activity affecting the water cycle. The occurrence of a drought cannot be prevented, but by understanding the mechanisms of its occurrence, it is possible to limit its effects. This is especially important in areas with intensive economic activity. The study of IMiGW - PIB has been made available to the public.
Let us recall that in March, the Turów Mine was granted an extension of the mining license for 6 consecutive years, and at the same time it is trying to extend the license until 2044, i.e. until the coal deposits are completely exhausted. After 2044, in line with the European Union's Green Deal policy, the areas of the Turoszów energy complex will undergo a reclamation process. As part of the license renewed in 2020, the Turów Mine conducts its mining activities in the mining area reduced by more than a half in relation to the area specified in the old license from 1994. When trying to extend the license, PGE GiEK carried out many information activities referring to all comments and questions regarding the further operation of the mine and its impact on the immediate surroundings.
Extending the operation of the Turów Mine guarantees the continued operation of the Turów Power Plant, and thus a reliable supply of electricity to over 3 million households.
PGE Górnictwo i Energetyka Konwencjonalna has also started preparations for the energy transformation of the Zgorzelec region by activating the activities of the South-Western Energy Cluster, which, together with the Zgorzelec Cluster for the Development of Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Efficiency, will prepare the transformation of the region over the next two decades and will retrain and educate employees for new branches of the economy.