Politico: Local groups’ petition against the CRMA

POLITICO Brussels Briefing by Jakob Hanke Vela

FEAR OF A RETURN OF THE MINES: Brussels is preparing a new law — the Critical Raw Materials Act — to facilitate mining in Europe. But activists are now mobilizing against it, warning the law would steamroll over local environmental opposition and even allow the construction of mines in protected natural reserves.

There’s always a news hook: “In Portugal the prime minister resigned over a probe into corruption over lithium mining,” Bojana Novakovic, a Serbian-Australian actor-turned-activist who is campaigning against mining projects, told Playbook. “Communities on the ground … have been expressing grave concerns about lack of transparency relating to this project for years.”

Corruption warning: “Corruption is endemic to mining, and the Critical Raw Materials [Act] is a law which would simply make more of that corruption legal,” Novakovic said. “It would make the lives of local communities, the lands we care for and the nature we live with even more difficult than it is now.”

Background: The law — currently in negotiations — establishes a benchmark that at least 10 percent of the “strategic raw materials” consumed by the EU should be extracted in domestic mines. As part of the measures to speed up mining projects, the regulation would reduce opportunities for local opposition groups to delay permits for new mines.

‘Overriding public interest’: The act currently sets a deadline for authorities of a maximum of 24 months to grant extraction permits. It also limits the public consultation period for environmental impact assessments to 90 days, pointing to an “overriding public interest” that such projects move forward.

Activists gear up: “The Critical Raw Materials Act is set to take a wrecking ball to human rights and environmental protection,” Laura Sullivan from the WeMove Europe activist network told Playbook. Together with Novakovic and other local organizations, WeMove is launching an online petition to scrap the act.

Re-shoring pollution: “Supplying Europe used to be a Global South problem and was arguably easier to hide,” Sullivan argued. “But the Critical Raw Materials Act will bring the mining scale up to European countries like Portugal, Spain, Ireland … it’s about to become a major problem for people in Europe.”

Povezani članci

Poslednje objavljeno