Environment Minister is to testify before the Administrative Court of Justice on Saturday in the “coal” lawsuit lodged by ECESR
The Administrative Court of Justice is to hear the appeal submitted by the ECESR on May 10, 2014 in the State Council premises. The ECESR brought this action for banning the use of coal in power generation in general, and the coal industry in particular, in addition to doing away with the coal shipments imported so far.
It is worth mentioning that the case has been adjourned for tomorrow hearing in order for the Minister of Environment to be summoned to testify about the damage and harms resulting from the use of coal in power generation. However, her testimony is so much expected since the minister’s opinion has actually been echoed frequently in various media channels.
At its meeting on April 3, 2014, the Council of Ministers had issued a decision to include coal in the energy system in Egypt.
Basically, the Environment Minister’s statements confirmed what has already been indicated by studies and research papers provided by different human rights and research centers, which unanimously refuted the claim that there were no other alternatives for the dwindling energy sources other than coal. The studies confirmed that there were many sources that were actually used to supply cement factories outside and within Egypt such as used tires, rice straw, and garbage. They all produce polluting emissions well below the level of coal’s polluting emissions. Furthermore, using such sources reduces the adverse environmental impact posed by disposing of them by other means.
Second, the minister’s remarks, which are collaborated by various studies, have confirmed the false allegation of the availability of modern technology that could limit the scale of the harmful effects of coal. But the truth is that such technology will not be available before fifteen years. However, assuming that such technology is actually used in Egypt, it will lead to doubling the cost of cement production twice and a half. On the other hand, the history of cement plants in Egypt shows their non-compliance with the different environmental requirements. So, the perception of its commitment to the use of such costly technology (even when they become available) cannot be expected, especially with the reality of the clear collusion of the executive bodies with the businessmen in general and with the cement manufacturers in particular (almost all of them are foreigners).
A number of human rights organizations expressed deep concerns about the hazards of using coal for power generation through statements and letters sent to the Council of Ministers and a number of international bodies to stop the implementation of this decision, which will bring, if applied, countless disasters.