The European Commission said April 28 it is referring Poland to the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) for failing to ensure that the environmental impacts of deep-level drilling, including for shale gas, are properly assessed.
The EC said that, under Polish law, it is possible to drill down to depths of 5,000 metres without beforehand assessing the potential impact on the environment. Thus Polish law does not take into account all criteria and standards established by the EU’s 2011 Environmental Impact Directive.
Deep drilling must under EU law be assessed for whether it impacts on the quality of water and soil and other natural resources, and whether it poses the risk of accidents. This was repeated two months ago in an ECJ case against Austria, argued the commission.
On April 28, the EC sent a number of final warnings – or “reasoned opinions” -- to other EU states, saying that failure to remedy the situation could lead to their referral to the ECJ.
Among these, it ‘requested’ Berlin to ‘correctly implement’ the EU’s 2009 Electricity and Gas Directives, noting that “Germany has incorrectly transposed into national law several requirements concerning the independent transmission operator (ITO) unbundling model”. The EC said it sent a formal notice to Germany in February 2015 regarding this.
It also sent similar reasoned opinions to Denmark over its failure to fully transpose the EU Energy Efficiency Directive into national law, Portugal regarding the EU Renewable Energy Directive, Latvia about the EU Radioactive Waste Directive.
The EC also sent reasoned opinions to Germany and Romania to take action to ensure the translation of EU Offshore Safety Directive into national law. In 2015, the EC initiated infringement procedures over non-transposition of the Offshore Safety Directive against 15 EU states, including Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and the UK.
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