неделя, 17 октомври 2010 г.

More toxic threats to eastern Europe

# The Guardian, Saturday 16 October 2010



You contend that "stiffer European regulations and standards governing mining safety, industrial plant licensing and pollution are in force" in the former communist bloc countries and now members of the EU (Report, 13 October), yet since last week's Hungarian sludge disaster the offending company has been pumping out defensive statements that the red mud does not qualify as toxic material under EU regulations. And this is true – while, prior to its joining the EU in 2004, Hungary had environmental laws designating such red mud as toxic, these rules were subsequently relaxed in line with weaker EU laws, the latter having succumbed to intense industrial lobbying in Brussels.

The enforcement of EU legislation regarding the use of cyanide technology for gold mining is coming under renewed threat from industry as a new wave of major gold extraction projects in Romania, Greece, Slovakia and Bulgaria gets under way. A string of safety breaches, including where cyanide facilities are installed at mining facilities prior to permitting, has been communicated by environmental groups to the European commission, while repeated appeals to environment commissioner Janez Potocnik to heed the European parliament's recent resounding resolution on an EU-wide ban on cyanide use in mining have as yet gone unanswered. At the end of last year the Hungarian parliament issued its own ban on cyanide use in mining. The consequences of the EU lagging behind Hungary this time on cyanide – and again thanks to pressure from the mining lobby – spell more danger for the people and the environment of eastern Europe.

Fidanka Bacheva-McGrath

EBRD campaign co-ordinator, CEE Bankwatch Network

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