Environmental organisations WWF Greece, Greenpeace Greece and ClientEarth have launched a legal challenge against two coal power plants in Greece for non-compliance with laws set by the EU, national and international authorities.
The court challenge is seeking the termination of the environmental permit, which was recently renewed by the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy for Meliti I and its future sister plant Meliti II.
The new permit updates a licence granted in 1998 that will be valid until 2028.
ClientEarth lawyer Eleni Diamantopoulou said: “Greece’s power plants have an abysmal track record of shaky permitting, which consistently fails to protect its citizens and the environment from the harmful effects of burning lignite. Yet once Meliti II is constructed, it will only amplify these effects currently intoxicating the region.”
In their filing, the organisations claim that the Greek state has granted the permits without conducting Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Additional claims include that the Greek state has ignored findings from the 2016 Climate Change Adaptation Report that showed Greece’s major source of CO2 emissions comes from burning lignite.
Lignite, a low grade and highly inefficient form of coal, is currently being used in the existing power plant, as well as the potential future Meliti plant.
The Meliti II plant is expected to come up near the northern Greek border, which according to organisations will affect people in Greece as well as those in neighbouring countries.
The court hearing is expected to be scheduled by next year.