WARSAW, Poland (AP) — European Union’s top court on Friday ordered Poland to immediately stop extracting brown coal at the Turow mine, which is on the border with the Czech Republic and Germany.
The Czech Republic filed in March for an injunction, saying the open-cast lignite mine in Poland drains water away from its inhabited areas and has other negative effects on its residents.
The decision by the EU’s Court of Justice is a temporary measure pending the court’s final judgement on Prague’s complaint.
Poland’s state PGE energy group, which runs the lignite mine in the southwest, argues that it needs to continue for years to allow Poland to phase out black coal in line with the European Union’s climate policies.
Black coal accounts for over 48% of Poland’s energy production compared to under 17% from lignite. Turow also has a lignite power plant.
Poland Climate Minister Michal Kurtyka recently extended the mine’s license until 2044.
The court said the previous 2026 license for Turow had infringed EU laws because it was granted without prior environmental evaluation. The order by the court’s Vice President Rosario Silva de Lapuerta said “due to its negative effects” the Turow mine “must immediately cease lignite extraction activities.”
The Czech government filed the suit after finding talks with Poland on the subject ineffective, but says the dialogue will continue.
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The Associated Press