Fight on mercury in Neratovice is going on, Spolana owners refused a compromise
PRAGUE/NERATOVICE - 04 April 2013
The Polish owner of the company Spolana Neratovice refused the accommodating proposals, however, the Czech managers wanted to reach an agreement. This is Arnika's judgement on the results of negotiations it participated in, together with representatives of the chemical plant, at the Regional Authority of the Region of Central Bohemia. The negotiations had been started because the regional officials had insisted on ending mercury utilization for chlorine production in accordance with the original agreement – by the end of 2014 – however, Spolana had asked for postponement of the deadline till 2020.
The Arnika Association made an accommodating proposal and it was ready to agree with Spolana's switching to a more environmentally-friendly technology of chlorine production, that does not utilize mercury, by the end of 2016, at the latest. This would be two years later than according to the original permission, and the environmental association regarded this postponement as the utmost possible concession from the environmental point of view. Representatives of the chemical plant declared year 2016 to be a feasible deadline at first, however, after consultations with representatives of Anwil, Spolana's Polish owner, they refused this deadline. Negotiations on the compromise were started only after Spolana had not succeeded at the Regional Authority with its stiff requirements when it had not wanted to accept any sooner deadline than the distant year 2020.
„We regard Spolana's appeal as complete mockery to inhabitants of the Czech Republic, as well as to the authorities. The Polish owner of the chemical plant, the company Anwil, wants to happily continue in damaging our environment, whereas in its parent plant it stopped using toxic mercury for chlorine production. However, the Czech managers showed an effort to come to an agreement. After the negotiation failure we have to emphasize the fact that it is the Anwil management that stakes on a risky play with jobs in Spolana," presents Arnika's chairman, Jindrich Petrlik, his remarks on the negotiation process.
Also the town of Neratovice filed an appeal against the decision of the Regional Authority. Hitherto, representatives of the town have given in to the threat of loss of jobs, without trying to make the company to accept a compromise – also in view of the burden for the region, caused by the long years of utilization of toxic mercury in Spolana.
The Regional Authority of the Region of Central Bohemia refused an application by which Spolana tried to obtain an approval to use toxic mercury for chlorine production by 2020, in spite of the fact that, according to the former agreements, the deadline was the end of 2014. The quality manager of Spolana Neratovice had made a statement last year already that the chemical plant would respect the decision of the Authority whatever it would be. However, the chemical plant did not honour the word of its manager, and filed an appeal. Actually, Spolana operation causes releases of high amounts of toxic substances into the environment of Central Bohemia and into the river Elbe, and, thus, endangers local people health and the Elbe ecosystem.