The Environmental Agency (ARSO) has rejected a request by LafargeCement for a permit that would allow the Trbovlje plant to resume burning waste as an alternative fuel. The company plans to respond with legal action.
ARSO rejected Lafarge Cement’s request to consider the cement plant as an existing installation and grant it an environmental permit as it already had in 2009. Instead, the agency established that the plant is a new installation that needs a new permit.
The group fighting against the burning of waste at Trbovlje, Eko krog, welcomed ARSO’s decision on Tuesday by noting that it will "make permit obtaining procedures much more transparent and will give the public much better control over what they want to have in their environment".
But Lafarge Cement general manager Janusz Miluch said that the company was a victim of a systemic disorder and of changing interpretation of legislation by the authorities. He said that Lafarge Cement was not being treated the same way as other companies that need to get an IPPC permit.
Miluch and the company’s legal representative Milivoj Radak announced that Lafarge Cement would launch legal proceedings to protect its interests and that the corporation would also consider a damages suit against the authorities in charge due to the damage done to its business. Miluch said that Lafarge Cement had made over EUR 32m worth of investments since 2002, mostly in reducing the plant’s emissions, with Radak arguing that all emission requirements were being met.
The officials also presented operating results for last year, which were hit hard by the contraction in the construction sector. Cement sales fell from 602,000 tonnes in 2008 to 303,000 tonnes in 2010, while the company projects an additional 5% contraction in the construction sector for this year.
According to Miluch, the company responded to the crisis by optimising work processes, with the use of alternative fuels seen as an important contribution to these efforts as the costs of fossil fuels surged by 57% in the past year.
Source: Slovene Press Agency (STA)