Polish government wins court appeal saving Turów lignite mine

Smoke rises from chimneys of the Turów power plant located by the Turów lignite coal mine near the town of Bogatynia, Poland. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

Poland’s Supreme Administrative Court (NSA) has overturned a decision by a lower court to suspend work at the Turów lignite mine on environmental grounds. The court found in favor of the government, which had called for the mine, which helps to produce 7 percent of the country’s electricity, to remain open.

Last month, the lower court in Warsaw ruled on a legal challenge filed insisting that production be suspended. Among others, a German city located near the mine and the Czech and German branches of Greenpeace claimed in the filing that the Turów open-cast lignite mine was causing a risk of significant damage to the environment. The ruling in favor of these groups was slammed by the government, which claimed it threatened Poland’s energy security.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called the decision unlawful and vowed to appeal the decision. 

A ruling on that appeal was issued this week by the NSA, which agreed with the government’s argument. The court found that the lower court had not properly taken into account the consequences of its ruling regarding the public interest. The court emphasized that energy security is vital to state independence and security. 

Turów was the subject of a long-running dispute with Czechia, which led to Poland being taken to the European Court of Justice. However, that issue was resolved by an out-of-court settlement between the two countries in which Poland compensated the Czech region affected by the mine’s operations.

The Frank Bold Foundation, one of the organizations involved in the original legal complaint against Turów, noted that the NSA ruling does not bring the case to an end. In August, a lower court will rule on whether the original environmental decision on the Turów license for operating beyond 2026 was in accordance with the law.

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