Environmentalists warn of systematic problems with subsoil use permits shutterstock

Environmentalists warn of systematic problems with subsoil use permits

Anna Velyka

It turned out that sometimes they threaten stable water supply for hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians

Experts from the Association of Environmental Professionals (PAEW) have filed an official request to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources regarding systematic violations in the conduct of auctions and issuance of permits for subsoil use. As an example, they cited the case of granting a special permit to Massive Plus LLC to extract sand from the bottom of a sanitary reservoir on the Teterev River, which provides drinking water to residents of Zhytomyr and suburban villages.

They reported this on the PAEW website.

In September 2023, the State Service of Geology and Subsoil of Ukraine sold a special permit to the company for sand extraction from a deposit located under a reservoir with the same name – Otsechne. According to the auctioned lot, the acquirer of the special permit had the right to extract sand from the bottom of the reservoir for commercial purposes for 20 years. Both parties confirmed such conditions for the use of the deposit with an area of more than 28 hectares in the sale and purchase agreement. And this is despite the fact that there are warning signs of a sanitary zone around the reservoir prohibiting swimming and fishing.

The Association reported that the prosecutors of the Specialized Eco-Prosecution Office of the Zhytomyr Regional Prosecutor's Office proved in a court of law the illegality of granting a special permit for extracting sand from the bottom of a drinking water reservoir, as it violates the requirements of current legislation, in particular the Law of Ukraine "On Drinking Water and Drinking Water Supply".

In court, they reasonably showed that the extraction of sand from the bottom of the reservoir on an industrial scale would have the following consequences:

  • will significantly worsen his condition;
  • will negatively affect water quality;
  • will lead to the need to change technologies for cleaning drinking water and increase its cost for consumers.

Therefore, the Commercial Court of Kyiv invalidated the results of the auction for the sale of a special permit for the use of the subsoil of the "Vidsichne" deposit, located within the Zhytomyr district, and the contract of sale by a private company of this special permit.

In an official letter to the government, PAEW experts asked 3 completely logical questions:

  1. Which of the representatives of the Ministry of Environment signed the agreement in this case?
  2. Who will return almost UAH 10 million of spent funds to the enterprise?
  3. How was it possible to put up for sale a deposit of sand, which is located within the limits of the only object of drinking water supply in the city of Zhytomyr – the reservoir "Vidsichne"?

"Isn't this like promoting ECOCIDE inside the country?", they ask.

According to the experts of the Association, fraud on the part of the state is being monitored once again, which has a very negative effect on the investment climate of Ukraine.

A year ago, EcoPolitic reported that PAEW experts urged the state to introduce fair rules for the sale of special permits for subsoil use in Ukraine to attract foreign investment in the industry.

Related
Ministry of Ecology approved forest destruction for amber extraction in Rivne region – UPG ecologists
Ministry of Ecology approved forest destruction for amber extraction in Rivne region – UPG ecologists

Ecoactivists are already preparing an appeal to the ministry on this issue

Zhytomyr region agricultural company caught on illegal sand mining worth almost UAH 5 million
Zhytomyr region agricultural company caught on illegal sand mining worth almost UAH 5 million

Its head concluded a contract with a contractor for sand extraction on an industrial scale under the guise of clearing and deepening the bottom of the reservoir

SEP will appeal in court against the sale of the Poppy Bog monument for peat extraction
SEP will appeal in court against the sale of the Poppy Bog monument for peat extraction

The swamp is home to Red List plants and animals and trees up to 160 years old