Turkish Council of State lifts Exemption from Environmental Impact Assessments on Mining Activities

In June 2011, the Environmental Engineers Association (EEA) had started an appeal through the courts against the use of exemption from Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for mining activities by the government in Turkey. As a result of the court case the Council of State, starting from the Kaz mountain region in the North West Turkey, has taken the decision to lift this immunity placed on mining activities in the entire country.

The president of the Environmental Engineers Association, Baran Bozoglu, states, “All new mining activities in Turkey should be stopped and an Environmental Impact Assessment should be carried out in all those areas”.

Mr Bozoglu continues, “The government’s hypocritical claims on being environmentally conscientious whilst simultaneously searching for means to disregard environmental regulations have now been ended with this decision. As it will be remembered, the government made modifications to the Environmental Legislation no 2872 in reference to the search for new mines, classifying such activity outside and exempt of such regulation. We had successfully taken up a court case to annul this decision on the basis of legislation no 56. In its conclusion the court had highlighted issues of public health, benefit to society and the protection of the environment as influential factors in their final decision that favoured our case. “

In 1997 under a programme of economic investment initiatives the government had secured new mining activities exemption from Environmental Impact Assessment by making changes to the assessment code. Although the Environmental Engineers Association had successfully won legal appeals against such reorganisation of the EIA codes, in May this year the government had gone ahead establishing such immunity for mining activities through a collective legislative bill.

Important projects such as the Third Bridge and Ilisu Damn, had also received immunity from EIAs.

For article in Turkish see:

http://www.bianet.org/bianet/toplum/149231-danistay-maden-aramada-ced-muafiyetini-durdurdu

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