First court case against coal power plant construction in Serbia
Belgrade — NGO CEKOR submitted a formal complaint in front of the Serbian national administrative court against the government’s decision to approve an Environmental Impact Assessment study for the construction of a new unit at the Kostolac B coal power plant. The complaint, in which the NGO exposes failings in the EIA process, is the first of its kind to reach Serbian courts.
2 June 2014
Belgrade — NGO CEKOR submitted a formal complaint [*] in front of the Serbian national administrative court against the government’s decision to approve an Environmental Impact Assessment study for the construction of a new unit at the Kostolac B coal power plant. The complaint, in which the NGO exposes failings in the EIA process, is the first of its kind to reach Serbian courts.
The Serbian Center for Ecology and Sustainable Development – CEKOR – decided to file this complaint after their inputs about serious flaws and inconsistencies in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) had not been addressed in the final report which was approved by the government early this year .
During the public consultation process, which is designed so that the Ministry of Energy and Environmental Protection should include in the study the comments and suggestions received from the public, CEKOR pointed out that the EIA lacks essential aspects such as: a cost-benefit analysis, environmental and health impacts data, project alternatives scenarios, and a review of cumulative impacts.
Furthermore, the EIA report does not contain an analysis of the cross border impact of the 350 MW planned plant on Romania, and Romania has not been notified of the Serbian government’s intention to build the plant, breaching the Espoo convention on environmental impact assessment in a transboundary context.  The planned construction of this third unit at Kostolac is expected to add to the already heavy significant transboundary impacts which include air pollution, contamination of drinking water supplies from coal ash waste and sludge deposits and heavy usage of water resources from the Danube river, only 5 km away.
“For too long we have been building industrial facilities and changing the landscape without adequate understanding of what we are doing, and the results are visible all around us today in the form of increasing frequency and seriousness of storms and floods,” commented Zvezdan Kalmar from CEKOR. “With such phenomena only expected to get worse as the climate changes it’s time to take environmental impact assessments more seriously and stop building large centralised energy facilities in vulnerable locations.”
All legal aspects aside, further development of the coal sector in a country whose electricity already relies 65-70% on lignite burning will do nothing but block the country’s progress on renewables and energy efficiency. Earlier this year, the European Parliament’s resolution on the country’s progress report noted that Serbia is far behind other candidate countries and the question is whether its target of 27 percent for renewable energy is going to be met by 2020. 
For more information, contact:
Serbian campaigner, CEKOR / CEE Bankwatch Network
Notes for the editors:
* The complaint can be made available upon request (in Serbian).
1. Details about the approved EIA:
2. A confirmation from the Romanian government that Romania has not been notified of the Kostolac expansion plans can be made available upon request.
3. Read the EP resolution here:
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