Environmental activists take legal action against €1 billion pulp mill plan

Civic environmental association Eesti Metsa Abiks (Helping Estonia's Forests, EMA) on Monday filed an application for interim measures and notice of appeal with Tallinn Administrative Court in which the activists call for the annulment of the administrative acts and state's special plan concerning the construction of Est-For Invest OÜ's €1 billion pulp mill.

The environmental association said that the documents are unlawful as they err both against the conditions of the state's special plan and the lawfulness of the planned environmental impact assessment process - writes err.ee.

"The plan in question is at present still in a preliminary stage, but mistakes have been detected in its implementation, and not eliminating them would create a situation in which both the state, Est-For and all those persons concerned are contributing an extensive amount of time and financial assets in relation to the plan, but a lot of the work would have to be redone as the plan would be unlawful,"the association said.

EMA is questioning both the launch of the state special plan for the pulp mill as well as the current development of the environmental impact assessment process. The unavoidable prerequisite of the drawing up of the state's special plan is that there is national or international interest for the construction in question, but the fact that there is international interest for the construction of the pulp mill has not been mentioned in Est-For's statement or the letter of explanation of order number 141.

The association said that it must therefore only be subject to national interest, but the object of national interest cannot be the creation of an additional 200 jobs or the possible tax revenue, as in that case the construction of the production facilities of essentially every larger than average company would be linked with national special interest. The environmental activists said that there is therefore no actual lawful basis to the launch of the state's special plan.

The association said that there are also shortcomings in the application filed by Est-For, as a number of claims have been made in the statement about the impact of the mill, but there are no references to research or sources upon which the claims are based. The association said that all claims made by the company in said statement are unsubstantiated and cannot be the justification of an administrative act without references to sources.

In its previous correspondence with representatives of Est-For Invest MargusKohava and Aadu Poll, the civic association has repeatedly asked specific technological questions about the equipment planned to be installed in the mill in order to get an overview of the environmental impact of the industry on the Emajõgi River and nature. Heads of the company have been laconic when it comes to the technology, stripping the rest of society's interest groups of the opportunity to have a say in the construction of the mill.

Finance Ministry: Special plan is lawful

According to the Ministry of Finance, EMA's assessment is not valid.

"The Ministry of Finance does not yet know about the exact content of the materials filed to the court or if the court will begin handling the notice of appeal or not," Tiit Oidjärv, director of the Ministry of Finance's Spatial Planning Department, said in a press release. "According to information that has gone through the media, we can confirm in advance that the claims made in the media are not valid. Preparation for the state's special plan and the strategic assessment of environmental impact have been carried out according to legal acts."

Oidjärv said that the purpose of drawing up the plan and carrying out the the environmental impact assessment process at the same time is to determine where and under what conditions the construction of the mill would be possible.

"According to law, launching the respective state's special plan is the government's decision, which is prepared by the Ministry of Finance," the ministry official explained. "The plan will not be launched if there are known circumstances that exclude carrying out the activity in the future. In order to determine these circumstances, the Ministry of Finance also turned to theMinistry of the Environment and theMinistry of Economic Affairs and Communications."

The ministries highlighted topics within their jurisdiction which must be focused on when drawing up the plan, Oidjärv noted. The ministries also said that there were no circumstances which would rule out carrying out the planned activity before the launch of the planning solutions, i.e. before developing solutions, assessing impact and other activities linked to the planning process.

"We have already bilaterally agreed on a meeting with [EMA] in order to clarify circumstances before the planning procedure substantially begins," said Oidjärv. "The first publications in the framework of planning process will presumably happen at the end of this year. In addition, we also wish to involve the citizens' movement constructively in the planning process after the planning process has substantially begun as well."

Read more news of Tallinn here.

err.ee
ministry_of_finance court_case environment pulp_mill est-for_invest tallinn_administrative_court helping_estonia's_forests
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
4 views in march
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Politics
Chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the owners of construction group Nordecon, Toomas Luman, finds that a prime ministerial candidate should first and foremost be able to answer the question of what will become of the demographic crisis in Estonia. The businessman sees controlled introduction of foreign labor as the solution. A digital construction cluster was created in Estonia a few years back to bring innovation to the s...
Society
Last year saw 27,125 registered offenses, up 0.5 percent from the year before. Violent crime was up by 12 percent to 8,249 offenses. PHOTO: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / Press Association Images / Scanpix Growth was biggest for domestic violence – the police launched criminal proceedings in 3,607 cases that constitutes an increase of more than one-third – annual growth of 37 percent from 2,632 cases in 2017. At the same time, reports of domestic violence we...
Society
TALLINN - Ahead of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, tens of thousands of British citizens have chosen the citizenship of some other country, but only one Brit has recently chosen an Estonian citizenship. Spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS that only one British citizen submitted an application for Estonian citizenship last year and the applicant was also granted the citizenship. Before that, no Brits had soug...
Society
TALLINN - Experts from Finland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands highlighted the importance of decentralization and granting local governments greater decision-making powers at a conference titled "Strong local government -- strong state?" in Tallinn on Wednesday.  All Nordic countries have chosen a model granting local governments significant decision-making powers, thus the central government does not prescribe how local governments are to fulfill the...
Society
The language learning application Drops by game developer Planb Labs, established in Estonia by Hungarian founders, was named Google Play's best app of 2018. With the number of downloads surpassing 10 million, Drops was named Google's app of the year as the revenue of Planb Labs, a company registered in Estonia, increased fivefold, CNBC said. The developer's revenue grew from €335,000 in 2017 to €1.7 million in 2018. The company's shareholders include Hung...
Society
TALLINN - The Estonian Health Board has banned the distribution of chlorine dioxide, also marketed as the Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), the A-component of an unused product, meaning the sodium chlorite solution, must be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. Ester Opik, head of the Health Board's North regional department, said that the banning of the distribution of the product was caused by the fact that MMS, distributed as a cosmetics produ...
Society
Nature cannot abide a vacancy, as the saying goes. If just one year ago, Estonia was battling the sale of MMS and the practice of giving it to children, a new “miracle cure” called Advanced TRS has appeared on the market now. Even though the make-up of the substance is different, the promise to cure autism and cleanse the body of heavy metals, which kind of extreme detox is accompanied by severe side-effects, sounds all too familiar. TRS is recommended to...
Society
Allied NATO battalions will soon mark two years serving in the Baltics. They have worked better than expected but would need prepositioned heavy weaponry and a functional contingency plan in case of a crisis, a report by the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) finds. “We do not know how Russia would have acted had we not welcomed allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017. I’m afraid they would have tested our resolve,” one of...
Society
The time of filing income tax returns is nearly upon us. The new income tax system, in effect since last year, will obligate many women who went on maternity leave toward the end of the year to make additional income tax payments, while those who give birth in the middle or at the beginning of the year have no such obligation. What this means is that some women will owe the state simply for giving birth “at the wrong time”. Laura Roop, who went on maternit...