Environment

Kosovo* parliamentarians reviewing small hydropower permits

Kosovo parliamentarians small hydropower permits

Photo: Assembly of Kosovo*

Published

September 29, 2020

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Published:

September 29, 2020

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A group of lawmakers in Prishtina held the first meeting within their three-month deadline for a probe into the controversy regarding the issuance of licenses and the oversight of small hydropower plants in Kosovo*.

A parliamentary inquiry commission in the Assembly of Kosovo* has been established to review the process of issuing licenses and supervising the operation of hydropower plants. The panel has a three-month term. It is led by Chairwoman Eliza Hoxha, a deputy from the
Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK).

Vice Chair Haxhi Avdyli from the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), who initiated the creation of the commission, said the lawmakers would determine how developers who devastated the environment got their licenses and that the findings would be sent to competent institutions.

Local officials, investors may be summoned to testify

Besa Gaxherri, a member from the same party, asked for official documentation and said the commission should look into it and start with the interviews. In her words, the meetings should be held twice a week due to the time limit.

Shpejtim Bulliqi from Vetëvendosje stressed Kosovo* is is facing a water crisis amid the expansion of hydropower plants. His party colleague Artan Abrashi insisted the inquiry shouldn’t be limited to state institutions and demanded for local officials and investors to testify.

Activists, locals tell minister to protect environment

Earlier, activists and representatives of the people from an affected area met with the Minister of Economy and Environment Blerim Kuçi. They demanded from the government to stop the damage inflicted on the environment in Deçan (Dečani), Kallxo reported. They have been protesting for years now against KelKos Energy, which built several small hydropower plants in the area.

The company is controlled by Kelag-Kärntner Elektrizitäts of Austria.

Minister of Economy and Environment Blerim Kuçi acknowledged there were breaches and said concerns about small hydropower plants are legitimate

Shpresa Loshaj from nongovernmental organization Pishtarët said the firm must repair the damage, implement the rule that at least 30% of the river can’t be diverted into pipes and pay its obligations to the municipality. Activists disputed the legality of the procedure that led to the installation of the small hydropower plants.

Minister Blerim Kuçi said he was aware of breaches and that the concerns are legitimate. Kosovo* was under pressure to issue permits due to its obligation to boost the share of renewables in production to 30%, he claimed.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
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