Fridays For Future launches legal challenge against new oil shale plant

Climate protestor at Toompea in Tallinn.
Climate protestor at Toompea in Tallinn. Source: Vladislava Snurnikova/ERR

Climate activists from Fridays For Future Estonia (FFFE) protest group have filed a complaint against the construction permit issued by the Narva-Jõesuu municipality for the ENEFIT282 oil shale plant, and to seek preliminary legal protection.

The group said in a press release the action was taken on April 26 and that the appeal is the first of its kind in Estonia. The plant will be built by state-owned energy company Eesti Energia and the government pledged €125 million towards the costs last month.

The activists say the plant will not help Estonia meet its international commitments, such as the Paris Climate Agreement and EU goals, and the supporting research in the impact analysis carried out is not thorough enough.

Estonian climate activist Kertu Birgit Anton said: "Honoring international agreements is necessary to mitigate the adverse consequences of climate change and secure a habitable environment for future generations. The construction of a new oil shale plant will lock Estonia into a fossil fuel-based economy for decades to come while lacking a long-term environmental and economic perspective."

FFE has filed a complaint with the Tartu administrative court for revocation of the building permit issued for the oil plant and application for preliminary legal protection.

Annett Kreitsman, a spokesperson for the Tartu Administrative Court, said the complaint of climate activists has not yet been assessed for processing, because the state fee accompanying the complaint has not been paid. Until the order to eliminate the shortcoming of the state fee is implemented, the complaint cannot in principle be taken as more than just a complaint, Kreitsman told ERR.

Priit Luts, a spokesperson for Eesti Energia, said the company has planned the plant on the basis of the national development plans and environmental permits. 

"The strategic environmental impact assessment was carried out based on the best available knowledge. Its correctness and quality were assessed and its results confirmed by the Ministry of the Environment. Eesti Energia has no reason to doubt the results of the research," Luts told ERR.

He said there would be no conflict with meeting Estonia's climate commitment goals.

"The payback period of the new oil plant will be less than 10 years. If no competitively priced carbon capture and storage or utilization technology has been developed by 2050, Eesti Energia is ready to close the paid-up oil plant then," said Luts. 


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Editor: Helen Wright

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