Activists demand halt to Croatian hydropower project

30 May 2012

Friends of Earth Croatia / Zelena akcija held a press conference outside the Croatian government building today, demanding that they put a stop to construction of the environmentally damaging and financially questionable Ombla hydroelectric power plant.

Friends of the Earth believes the project is illegal, environmentally harmful, as well as financially and technically questionable – it could cost Croatian citizens around 123 million euros. In addition, the revised environmental impact assessments for the project have been withheld from the public – violating the Freedom of Information Act.

Local communities have already shown resistance to the project. Construction work has caused flooding in the Vilina Jama cave system, an area rich in biodiversity, with some unique species, that forms part of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas.

The project is based on an environmental impact assessment from 1999, but according to the Croatian Environmental Protection Act, such assessments expire after 2 years. The Croatian Ministry of environment and nature protection finalised the independent review of the environmental impact assessment for the project Ombla in early May. The government has since witheld the information from the public, violating the Freedom of Information act.

Friends of the Earth Croatia are demanding the Croatian government put an immediate stop to the project, and give access to the environmental impact assessment. Friends of the Earth Europe are campaigning to ensure renewable energy projects involve local people in their planning processes, offer them the opportunity to invest in renewables schemes, and guarantee that the local community shares in the benefits.

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