The MOEW will request a new EIA report on the expansion of “Asarel Medet” AD

12 Nov, 2021 | 14:38

By letter to RIEW-Pazardzhik, the MOEW instructs the competent authority to request a new EIA report on the investment proposal by “Assarel Medet” AD for expansion of the industrial area of the enterprise in Panagyurishte, by which the ten-year-old case would find a lawful solution.

The MOEW carried out an EIA procedure on this investment proposal and a decision was issued in 2012 by the Minister of Environment and Water, for which preliminary implementation was allowed. Subsequently, the administrative act issued by the MOEW was appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court and there were a series of court rulings. With a decision by the Court that entered into force in June 2019, the initial decision on an EIA by the Minister of Environment and Water was finally revoked and the file was returned for a new ruling to the competent authority. The decision to allow preliminary execution of the investment proposal was also revoked due to the fact that it has been taken on a cancelled legal basis. The last ruling by the Court, a five-member panel, took place in September 2021, which again rejected another request by “Assarel Medet” AD for annulment of the court decision.

With the amendment of the Environmental Protection Act from 2012, the competent authority to conduct the EIA procedure became the director of RIEW-Pazardzhik and the case for the investment proposal by “Assarel Medet” AD was forwarded to him for a new decision in compliance with the court ruling.

During the EIA procedure renewed in 2020, “Assarel-Medet” AD confirmed that all activities for the expansion of the industrial area of ​​the enterprise, approved by the revoked EIA decision and carried out under the preliminary implementation decision, have been 100% completed. All facilities have been put into operation and were functioning, practically without an EIA decision.

In the current environmental legislation there is no legal basis for conducting an EIA procedure for an existing site. In the instruction to RIEW-Pazardzhik to issue a new EIA report, the MOEW refers to the October 2020 edition of the Case Law of the Court of Justice of the EU on the implementation of the EIA and Environmental Assessment (EA) Directives, according to which posteriori assessment is allowed within the meaning of the EA/EIA procedure. An assessment carried out after the construction and entering into exploitation of a facility cannot be limited to the future environmental impact, but must also take into account the consideration of the environmental impact from the moment of completion and launching of the facilities.

The MOEW’s instruction to the director of RIEW-Pazardzhik requires that in case of a favorable EIA, the subject of the investment proposal is to be put to public consultation in the settlements affected by its implementation. The EIA should take into consideration the decisions by the Supreme Administrative Court and the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU, which is binding on all competent authorities in the EU member states.