For some time, it has been at the heart of an international conflict. Near the border of Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic, the Turów mine sits. In 2019, 80% of Poland’s domestic energy came from coal, whereas the figure in the Czech Republic was 54% and in Germany was 43%. The very same nations, now campaign to shut down the mine because of environmental concerns.
The mine has been operating and producing brown coal or lignite for generations. PGE Polish Energy Group is a shareholder of the power plant as well. Extraction at the mine is a source of significant employment for the area. Following a complaint filed by the Czech Republic, the European Commission ordered Poland to cease operations at the Turów lignite mine. Although the European Court of Justice decision compels Poland to pay the daily penalty, the Polish government has refused to comply with the order. Poland, ordered by The European Court of Justice, must pay 500,000 euros ($586,000) each day it extracts coal from an open-pit mine between the Czech and German borders. The Polish government maintains that the Turow mine and adjacent power station provide 7% of Poland’s total energy production.
As PGE began to extend the construction of the digging project further closer to the Czech border, tensions increased between the two long-standing friends. Negotiations on the matter have so far been unsuccessful since Poland is unwilling to alter the project. After the two countries started discussions in June on the mining improvements and steps to minimize harm to water levels, noise, and air conditions, it is expected that Warsaw will try to work things out with Prague, which has often caused problems in the past. However, the Polish government has fought against the court’s decision ever since held, stating that the court’s punishment imperils the negotiations.
Residents in the Czech Republic who live near the planned mining project welcomed the decision. Still, many in the country itself were apprehensive about the potential effect of the mine on water levels, dust, and noise.
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The proposed mining region is within the limits prescribed in the original permission, PGE, and the Polish government claim. A study conducted by PGE (Pacific Gas and Electric) indicates a negligible effect on groundwater levels. To keep any liquid from draining away, the firm is also constructing an underground barrier on the site.
Additionally, the impacts on the climate from the mine are substantial. The least efficient and most polluting form of coal is termed lignite (or brown coal). Compared to the geologically older hard coal extracted underground, it has a lower fuel value and a greater emissions intensity.
Poland said it would be unable to phase out coal by 2030, prompting yet another dispute with the EU.