Top court dismisses appeal to block construction of oil plant

The Supreme Court in Tartu.
The Supreme Court in Tartu. Source: Silver Gutmann/riigikohus

The Supreme Court of Estonia will not proceed with an appeal by the nonprofit MTÜ Loodusvõlu seeking to block the construction of a shale oil plant by the state-owned power generating group Eesti Energia in Ida-Viru County.

The NGO contested the building permit saying it will have an impact on climate change and sustainable development. This will stop Estonia from fulfilling its international agreements, the NGO said.

In April last year, the NGO, which brings together Estonian members of the Climate Strike Movement Fridays For Future, filed a complaint with the Tartu Administrative Court, seeking the revocation of the building permit for the plant.

Simultaneously, the complainant made an application to suspend the validity of the contested building permit for the duration of the legal proceedings.

In May this year, the Tartu Circuit Court temporarily suspended the validity of the construction permit of the planned shale oil plant issued by the Narva-Jõesuu city government on March 27, 2020.

In July, the Tartu Circuit Court revoked the interim injunction at the request of Enefit Power, a subsidiary of Eesti Energia. 

MTÜ Loodusvõlu then appealed to the Supreme Court to annul the order of the Narva-Jõesuu city government.

Supreme Court justices Heiki Loot, Ivo Pilving and Viive Ligi decided not to accept the appeal.

NGO Loodusvõlu has also sued the Narva-Jõesuu city government, requesting the revocation of the building permit.

In June, the Tartu Administrative Court dismissed the appeal, following which the NGO appealed the decision. The dispute is currently pending on the second-tier level.

At present, soil works and other preparatory works are underway on the property of the €321 million future shale oil plant. The next step is the construction of the foundations of the structures, which according to the plans of Enefit Power will start in a month's time.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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