ClientEarth and Greenpeace Romania have addressed the European Commission about the very low level of sanctions imposed by authorities on coal-fired power plant operators in breach of European law, urging the Commission to act.
Fines, which in some cases are at the same level as restaurants that allow customers to smoke indoors, are part of Romania’s systematic failure to set and apply appropriate sanctions, say the two organizations.
Industries that are in breach of European pollution legislation must be financially or otherwise penalized if they operate illegally. According to the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), Member States are obliged to adopt “effective”, “proportionate” and “dissuasive” sanctions to punish those operators who do not comply with the legislation, the Greenpeace release says.
“In Romania, sanctions imposed on operators of coal-fired power plants are too small to prevent their illegal operation. For example, for operators of coal-fired power plants, whose annual revenues are typically between 86 and 400 million euros, the sanction for unauthorized operation is a single fine from 30,000 to 60,000 lei. Moreover, if the operator pays the fine within 15 days, the level drops to half the minimum, of 15,000 lei.
By comparison, in Spain and Greece, thermal plant operators are fined up to 2,000,000 euros for operating without authorization.”