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Brussels, 19 May 2011

Environment: Commission urges Latvia to comply with EU law on mining waste

The European Commission is asking Latvia to adopt measures to ensure that extractive waste is treated in specific facilities in line with EU requirements. Despite earlier warnings, Latvia is still not complying with EU legislation on mining waste. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion. If Latvia fails to comply within two months, the Commission could refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.

The EU Mining Waste Directive requires Member States to adopt measures to ensure that extractive waste is managed without endangering human health and the environment. Latvian legislation does not correctly transpose certain provisions of the Directive concerning the obligation to issue permits to mining waste treatment facilities, waste management plans, prevention of water and soil contamination, the right of the public to be informed, and provisions ensuring that facilities are subject to liability in respect of environmental damage caused by their operation.

The Commission sent a letter of formal notice in January 2011 urging Latvia to adopt the necessary measures to comply with the relevant legislation. Although progress has been made, Latvia has still not adopted all the necessary measures, and the legislation planned by the Latvian authorities is unlikely to fully resolve the situation. The Commission is therefore taking the infringement procedure further by sending a reasoned opinion. Latvia has two months to take appropriate action. Failure to do so could result in the Commission referring the case to the European Court of Justice.

Further information

For more information on the EU mining waste Directive see:

For current statistics on infringements in general see:

See also MEMO/11/312

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