After decades of putting up with noise and dust, people in Runcurel, Romania are being told they are in the way of national interest. Together with the two civil society organisations, land owners are challenging the government’s decision and the coal company’s actions.
Alexandru Mustata, Romanian energy campaigner | 24 March 2016
Today, Greenpeace Romania and Bankwatch Romania are suing the Romanian government over a decision to allow the state-owned energy company Oltenia Energy Complex (OEC) to expropriate villagers to make way for a lignite mine’s expansion.
Together with 18 land owners from the village of Runcurel in Gorj County, the two organisations request the government to annul a decision from 2015 that allows the company to take villagers’ properties without prior negotiation and an average level of compensation of only one euro per square metre.
The decision is based on the status of a public utility – i.e. being of national importance – that was granted to the mining project. Yet as the lawsuit argues:
- The project is incompatible with Romania’s national energy strategy.
- The company is being offered state aid that is illegal due to the mixed ownership of the company.
- The project lacks a valid urban planning permit.
- The project is in breach of the environmental permit for the mine expansion.
- The public was excluded in the decision making process.
In their efforts to help the affected families, the two organisations have requested a meeting with the prime minister, as well as sending him a petition signed by over 3800 Romanians.
More in our photo story
More on the recent history of land disputes and locals’ protests can be found in the photo story “A village disappearing”.
Never miss an update
We expose the risks of international public finance and bring critical updates from the ground – straight to your inbox.