Hydrological changes, degraded natural environment and increased air dustiness – just to produce expensive and dirty electricity with lignite!
Despite the general knowledge on costs and consequences of lignite mining, in Poland there is still support for generation of electricity with the raw resource which is the most expensive and the most contaminating: lignite. Hence, the decision has been taken to increase the capacity of Turów Lignite Power Plant (south-western Poland, close to the Czech and German borders) by expanding a new power unit (about 500 MW) and it is consistently implemented, necessitating expansion of the excavation pit of Turów Lignite Mine.
Even now, environmental organisations are very critical about functioning of both these companies. There is evidence showing major damages occurring at the mine’s impact area. The most importantly, exceeded limits of air dustiness, even outside the heating season and prominent transformation of hydrological and geological relations resulting from excavation within the cone of depression, as well as outside its official range. Negative consequences may affect areas in Poland, Czech Republic and Germany and their inhabitants.
Turów complex has also significant impact on public health. Experts estimate, that there are approximately 290 premature deaths, approximately 120 cases of chronic bronchitis in adults, almost 700 cases of bronchitis in children, over 130 thousand days of sick leave and more than 18 thousand fits of asthma in children per year related to functioning of the power complex.
The management of the complex claims other phenomena are responsible for the environmental damage. In the case of dustiness, they argue that limits are exceeded because of low-stack emissions and transport. The company did not initiate any dialogue or contact concerning changes in its operation, underscoring scientific results, even research by state inspections.
Since social consultations held in Poland did not provide for requesting an official opinion from the neighbouring countries, only the Czech Republic took its own initiative, filing major objections and questioning arguments and documentation presented by the Polish party (copies of both decisions are enclosed). Concluding, the authorities of Liberecký kraj refused to consent to implementation of the planned “Changed of Local Development of the City and Commune of – are of open-pit Turów Lignite Mine close to Opolno-Zdrój”. In the grounds for this refusal, they indicated the project’s potential negative impact on the region’s natural environment. So far, Germany has not reacted to the planned expansion of the excavation. Unfortunately, nowadays in Poland there is a political atmosphere of support for the coal sector’s operations and consistent blocking of any endeavours aimed at development of renewable energy and efficient energy use. Hence greater importance of opinions of Poland’s neighbours provided within the obligatory trans-border consultations, especially that Turów complex affects the Czech Republic and Germany – explains Radosław Gawlik, activist of the Lower Silesian Smog Alarm and Ecological Association EKO-UNIA.
Further public consultations concerning this project will start soon and it is important for environmental organisations and inhabitants to be ready and to pronounce clear and positive objections.
Press release by the Ecological Association EKO-UNIA
Wrocław, on 16.10.2018
Radosław Gawlik, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. 605 037 417
Joanna Kubicka, email@example.com, tel. 605 638 989
 Łukasz Adamkiewicz, 18.09.2018, non-publish research report.
 Opinion no. 28746/ENV/17 of the 24.04.2017, https://portal.cenia.cz/eiasea/detail/SEA_MZP052M