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3 : 1 – Reject Ombla

Minister Zmajlović and Prime Minster Milanović need to “show some backbone” and reject HEPP Ombla
Natural Resources

Programme: Natural Resources

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Green Action activists, in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, held a press conference today, at 11 a.m, in front of the Croatian Government asking that the Government reject the HEPP Ombla project. Almost two weeks ago, the fact that three out of four independent experts working on the EIA revision concluded that the EIA should be rejected, was publicized.

This was followed by a volatile reaction from the First Vice-Prime Minster who, despite the opinions of independent experts, publicly stated that “Ombla is going ahead”, daring to obtrude his own will, devalue the entire process of expert revision, and prejudice the decision of the Government. Should the Government come to a political decision to realize this harmful project, it will be an indicator that the Prime Minister and other Ministers have no willpower to resist the First Vice-Prime Minister. We ask that Minister Zmajlović and Prime Minister Milanović “show some backbone” and act according to the opinion of independent experts and suggest to the Government that they reject HEPP Ombla.

As we have mentioned several times, the EIA for this project was made in 1999, when environmental protection standards were significantly lower that today. Apart from the fact that the assessment is old, we wish to warn that there were also faults in its process, such as eliminating dr Bonnacci, PhD, who had a series of rebukes to the content of the assessment, from the Expert Committee for the assessment. The planned HEPP Ombla would flood the cave system of Vilina jama, which has a very high biodiversity, and is part of a protection plan as part of the European network of protected zones – Nautra 2000. The HEPP is planned to be built in a limestone area, where the ground is extremely porous, and no one knows just how much the underground canals and streams are intertwined, so it is possible that by cementing these canals, we could cause an undesired effect to the system of underground waters. It is important to emphasize that, should there be problems with HEPP Ombla, apart from the damage to nature, there could also occur an insufficiency of drinking water for Dubrovnik, which takes its water supply from the source of Ombla.

We should definitely invest into energy, but the first step should be in the direction of reducing electrical energy losses in distribution, which are significantly higher in Croatia, than in EU countries, which would eliminate the need for construction HEPP Ombla. Furthermore, with a system of donations, affordable crediting and grants, we could lower the energy loss in buildings, while stimulating the installation of solar collectors and photovoltaic cells on buildings. While these investments into energy efficiency and renewable energy sources are extremely efficient, they do not favour the construction lobby, because there is no need to construct large facilities and dams, and the ownership and profits are not centralised.


20.06.12. 11:38