site.btaProtest against Environment-related Legislative Changes Held in Sofia

Protest against Environment-related Legislative Changes Held in Sofia
Protest against Environment-related Legislative Changes Held in Sofia
Protestors with a sign that read "Hands off the Environment Protection Act!", Sofia, April 19, 2024 (BTA Photo)

Protesters against changes to the Environment Protection Act gathered outside Parliament here on Friday. Representatives of environmental organizations and citizens were concerned by the bill to amend the Investment Promotion Act, through which amendments are proposed to three other laws, one of them being the Environment Protection Act.

The protestors said that the proposed amendments are likely to render meaningless citizen scrutiny of decisions concerning nature.

Katerina Rakowska of the World Wildlife Fund told BTA that fundamental changes are being introduced with no oversight from the Ministry of Environment and Water or the Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Water. The possibility to have a two-instance judicial review for large investment projects has been removed, she added and pointed out that another proposal stipulates that decisions on the need for Environmental Impact Assessments will be valid for 10 years instead of the current five.

In the words of Vera Staevska of the Green Laws Initiative, the Spatial Development Act also amends the procedure for changes to the urban development master plan. Zeleno Dvizhenie Co-Chair Toma Belev said that President Rumen Radev will be asked to return to Parliament for review the changes that are to be adopted by lawmakers. Belev warned that changes to the Environment Protection Act could lead to criminal proceedings against the country under two European directives.

On April 17, the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Policy and Innovation adopted the bill amending the Investment Promotion Act on second reading.

/PP/

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By 06:38 on 18.05.2024 Today`s news

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