Czech minister quits over controversial power plant

Czech Environment Minister resigned from the caretaker cabinet, saying the prime minister had put pressure on him to decide hastily on plans.

Czech minister quits over controversial power plant

Czech Environment Minister Jan Dusik resigned on Thursday from the caretaker cabinet, saying the prime minister had put pressure on him to decide hastily on plans to upgrade a controversial large coal-fired power plant.

The ministry has yet to rule on the project, which has drawn objections from environmentalists and from Micronesia. The Pacific nation fears increasing floods as a result of climate change partly due to carbon emissions from the Czech Prunerov plant. 

Dusik told reporters that as one of his last acts as minister he would ask Czech utility CEZ to submit an alternative plan for the work at Prunerov, using the best-available technology, or to cut emissions elsewhere. 

He said he decided to resign after Prime Minister Jan Fischer asked for an immediate ruling. "I am not convinced that it is possible to give a positive or negative opinion with a clear conscience now, with regards to the situation in which the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) process is presently in," Dusik said. "That's why I decided to resign." 

The Czechs are to hold a May 28-29 general election to replace the interim government which has ruled since the collapse of a centre-right cabinet a year ago. 

CEZ, in which the state holds a nearly 70 percent stake, wants to extend the life of three blocks at the Prunerov plant in the north of the country, while raising their output and effectiveness. 

Overall capacity would drop with the closure of two remaining units. 

The environment ministry said last month it wanted an independent, international assessment of CEZ's plans, to free the project from political and economic pressures. 

Norwegian consultancy DNV presented on Thursday the resulting assessment on the plans.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Mart 2010, 23:33
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