The European Commission has approached the Polish government with concerns about a fracking law which, according to Brussels, is in breach of the EU directive. The law in question allows for exploratory drilling at a depth of up to five thousand meters without a prior environmental impact assessment.
In its communique, the Commission called upon the Polish side to ensure that all exploration activities are carried out according to EU standards.
While in Poland exploratory drilling up to the depth of five thousand metres can be carried out without environmental assessment, The European Commission states that all projects which may significantly affect the environment due to their nature, size or location, are to be evaluated prior to the implementation, in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive. The Committee found that excluding such activities as outlined in the Polish law from the Directive is in breach of the EU regulations.
The communique quoted the ruling of the European Court of Justice from 11th February 2015, in which the Court held that the obligation to assess the environmental impact caused by deep drilling, such as reconnaissance drilling, may follow from the EU Directive. It therefore follows that appropriate national authorities should carefully consider the criteria set out in the provisions in the Annex to the EU directive to decide whether to make the said assessment on a case-by-case basis.
Initially, The Commission sent a letter of formal notice on the matter in July 2014, followed by the current communique. Poland has two months to respond. The law states that if a Member State fails to address the issue within this time, The Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.
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