Prime Minister Sali Berisha came under fire on Tuesday for approving cement
plants his opponents say will violate environmental norms, pollute the
capital and destroy forest the country cannot afford to lose. The opposition
Socialists said cement plant contracts by Greece’s Titan and Seament
Albania, were presented to parliament without technical details and
would allow the felling of 260 hectares of trees.
"I want to know what is the pollution quota you have agreed with the
companies and what is the EU pollution quota," Socialist lawmaker Erion
Brace asked Berisha. The prime minister said his conservative Democratic
Party had inherited from its Socialist predecessor an "environment in the
worst condition possible" and would take painful decisions to respect it.
He denied the contracts in question were negotiated by the law firm run by
his daughter and said European Union pollution norms would be respected.
Brace told Reuters he believed the three cement plants. due to be built near
Fushe-Kruje some 25 kms (15 miles) north of the capital Tirana, would create
a health hazard for more than one million people. Environmentalist Lavdosh
Ferruni said it would be "a crime against the environment to cut the forests
of Fushe-Kruja", which Environment Minister Lufter Xhuveli had wrongly
described as "degraded".