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Publicize the results of the EIA revision and stop the construction of HEPP Ombla!

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Green Action activists, in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, held a press conference and performance, today at 11 a.m, in front of the Croatian Government on St. Marko’s Square, demanding the Government finally publicize the results of the final revision of the EIA for HEPP Ombla and stop this ecologically harmful and economically questionable project.

The Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection confirmed to local media in Dubrovik in early May that the independant revision of the 1999. EIA for HEPP Ombla is finished and that the results, along with the opionio of the Ministry, have been sent to the Government, decision pending. Since the results of the revision are not public, on May the 3rd 2012 Green Action asked the Government and Ministry for access to the results of the revision or that the results be publicized, citing the Right to Information Access. We soon found ourselves in a “kafkian” situation in which the Government, in a written response on May the 9th 2012, withheld the information and redirected us to the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection, while the Ministry in a written response on May the 23rd 2012, withheld the information and redirected us to the Government. Just to remind you that such actions by state institutions is a violation of the Right to Information Access Law and, therefore, we demand the the results of the revision be publicized post haste.

We also demand that the Government promptly come to a decision to stop the HEPP Ombla project, so that Croatian citizens don’t have to pay for the indecisions of the Government in the form of an expensive loan from the EBRD, summing in total 123 million euro, for a harmful project. We would like to remind you that the HEPP Ombla project is illegal, ecologically devastating, financially unfeasible and technically questionable. It is illegal because it is based on the acceptance of the EIA from 1999, while the Envrionmental Protection Law from 2007 now states that new EIAs cannot be older than two years. It is ecologically devastating because by realizing the project the Vilina jama – Ombla cave system, which has a very high biodiversity, is the home of many unique animal species, and is in the plan for the protection as part of Europe’s protected zones – Natura 2000, would be submerged. It is financially unfeasible, which was also ascertained by independent consultants of the EBRD in the economic assessments that leaked to the public, but also, to be reminded, the construction price of HEPP Lešće was almost twice as large as its initial estimate. It is technically questionable because of the planned underground dam, 140 meters high, within the cave system, and in a seismically unstable area limestone area. We would also like to add that the local community is opposed to the project, which was made very clear on the public panel discussion on April th 19th 2012 in Dubrovnik.

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