OPEN LETTER TO MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT PETER ŽIGA
Ing. Peter Žiga, PhD. - minister
Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic
Nám. Ľ. Štúra 1
812 35 Bratislava
we are turning to you not only as the minister of environment but also as a person born in Košice and an opponent of uranium mining at Jahodná. With much concern we have received the media information that the Ludovika Energy mining company (via its parent company European Uranium Resources) has started to threaten Slovakia with an international arbitration court.
The alleged reason for filing an international court complaint against Slovak Republic should be your decision by which you had complied with the General Prosecutor Office's protest and cancelled the previous illegitimate decision of your ministry renewing the geological exploration licence for the area for the Ludovika Energy company.
We consider this action of Ludovika Energy and its parent company European Uranium Resources an undue pressure not only against your ministry but also against the general public of Slovakia. We expect that your ministry and, above all, you yourself will not succumb to the pressure and that all future decisions you will make in this matter will be guided by the law, taking into account the interests of the affected people as well as the mission of your ministry office, i.e. the environment protection! In this context we would like to remind you of the statements that you made at the meeting of the City Council of Košice on 15 April 2013, where you publicly declared: "I am strictly against uranium mining at Jahodná" and "I will do all that is possible to prevent uranium mining at Jahodná". Now it is not only your opportunity but actually your obligation to turn these declarations into actions!
It is not at all certain that the international court proceedings against Slovakia, which the uranium mining company is threatening with would take place, besides, the result of such proceedings is impossible to predict - taking into account the difference in legal opinions on the exploration-licence renewal negotiations presented by the General Prosecutor's Office and the mining company, respectively. If your ministry gave up to this pressure, it would mean that it failed in fulfilling its basic mission and resigned in its duty of environment protection. At the same time, such a decision might bring with itself a risk of court complaints against Slovakia filed by European institutions because of violation of European legislation in the field of environment protection and public participation in decision-making in environmental matters (Natura 2000, Aarhus Convention and others).
We hope that you will make sure that this won't happen!
On behalf of the citizens refusing uranium mining and processing in Košice
ZO SZOPK (basic unit of the Slovak association for preservation of nature and countryside) Košice 2013
JUDr. Mgr. Ladislav Rovinský - chairman
Ing. Martin Ondera, PhD.
Ing. Karol Labaš
In Košice, on 27 August 2013
1. Committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic for agriculture and environment