Greenpeace sued the Gorj Environmental Protection Authority for issuing an integrated environmental permit for the Rovinari complex, owned by CE Oltenia, which does not meet European environmental criteria, Alin Tănase, Climate & Energy campaigner, Greenpeace, told energynomics.ro.
“We challenged the integrated environmental permit issued to Rovinari by the Gorj Environmental Protection Authority in court, under two arguments – emission standards have changed and were not included, according to EU requirements, also in terms of biodiversity and environmental damage,” says Tănase.
He explained that until recently the environmental permit was issued for 10 years, after which it had to be renewed, and by 2018, with the change of the legislation, the authorizations are valid for the whole period of operation of the project, with a simple annual review.
“We do not agree with the extension of the lifetime of the plant for an unlimited period,” Tanase says – explaining that in almost all member states, Europe has given up coal by 2030.
The first issue, linked to emission standards, was invoked as the new EU provisions require that all installations, including gas, must respect them – including in Romania – the new emission standards for nitrogen (NO2), sulphate (SO2) and particulate matter (PM10) – three standards previously provided. The problem is that a new standard provides for measurements of hydrochloric acid (HCl), Fluorine (HF), and mercury (HG) levels.
“The new measurements were introduced for the first time and joined the previous standards. Until now, the Rovinari plant did not monitor mercury – also because of the high costs. But the new standards for 2021 should also be included in the Integrated Environmental Authorization, valid from December 2018, for the entire duration of the Rovinari project. But we have not found them, nor the past ones do fully respect the values required, “Tanase said.
He explained that Greenpeace is working with specialized software for measurements based on several climatic factors, and it performs its own calculations. At the same time, Greenpeace has been involved in all pre-authorization steps, sending out previously disregarded views to stakeholders. “Even some inhabitants of Rovinari protested,” Tanase says.
A second argument for the trial – the biodiversity- provides that the Rovinari thermal power plant is near a Natura 2000 site in the Jiu Corridor. “It even takes water from Jiu. In fact, other plants take water from Jiu and affect the quality of the river, too. In the permit issuance procedure, there must also be an environmental impact assessment study that they have never done. We spoke with specialists who found that there is an impact on biodiversity in the Natura 2000 site – Rovinari must demonstrate through this study that it does not exist “, concluded Tănase.
Romania recycled only 14% of municipal waste during the past eight years / BOGDAN TUDORACHE / ENERGYNOMICS.RO
Romania has not managed to increase its recycling rate over the last eight years, according to an Ernst & Young study.
The targets imposed by the European Union in the field of waste recycling, as of 2008, require that until 31 December 2020 EU countries achieve, at least for paper, metal, plastic and glass waste from municipal waste, a level of readiness for re-use and recycling of at least 50% of the total amount of waste generated.
“However, according to Eurostat, Romania recorded a very low recycling rate of municipal waste of only 14% (7% of materials recycling and 7% of composting) in 2017, with only one percentage point in excess of 2010,” say EY officials.
“Taking into account that waste disposal at the landfill should be the last alternative to waste management, it is alarming that its rate has reached 70%, while the recycling rate stays low for more than 8 years,” they add.
“Already there are in place most of the (legal – n.r.) ingredients necessary for the evolution of the waste collection and recycling system in Romania. The legal framework has been supplemented with the necessary tools, it remains to be seen whether these recent clarifications are sufficient for Romania to start an upward trajectory in the field of recycling… In the case of non-compliance with the obligations assumed, the Court of Justice of the European Union may impose on Romania a payment of a fine of over 1 million euro, plus penalties, for each day of delay,” the survey shows.