In a statement on Tuesday to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the unions of miners and the Silesian Debrois Solidarity Sectors announced a protest action if the project was not withdrawn.
It relates to the draft regulation of the Minister of Climate and Environment on quality requirements for solid fuels published on the website of the Center for Governmental Legislation on September 20. The proposal envisages stricter standards for solid fuels used to heat homes. Goes, among other things o reduce the proportion of sulfur and ash in the coal sold and replace the names “eco pea charcoal” or “environmental charcoal” with others – so as not to mislead consumers.
In the opinion of the trade unions of the “S”, the draft regulation was designed in such a way as to eliminate the sale of high-quality coal produced by Polish mines, that is, ecological peas. In a position addressed to the head of government, Dominic Collors, head of the Silesian Solidarity Movement – Debrowski, and Bogoslaw Hotek, the leader of the mining industry, the Climate Ministry project called a scandal and demanded that it be withdrawn.
“At the same time, we warn you that the continuation of the confrontational policy pursued by Minister Mikhail Kortica and his subordinates will lead to a sharp increase in social unrest among workers in the mining sector and its surroundings, which will force us to take all the protests stipulated by law.”
Trade unions estimate that the changes proposed by the Climate Ministry will eliminate hundreds of millions of zlotys from investment by coal companies in building infrastructure that enables production of environmentally friendly pea charcoal – the fuel often purchased by individual users for heating homes. This year, the largest domestic producer – Polska Grupa Górnicza – supplies the market with about 700 thousand. tons of this type of fuel.
According to the unionists, the project in its current form affects thousands of households, which in recent years have replaced old heating installations with coal-fired grade 5 boilers and Ecodesign boilers. “These boilers are designed to burn environmentally friendly pea coal, that is, the fuel that the Ministry of Climate intends to remove from the market. It is worth emphasizing, in the vast majority of cases, that home purchases of low-emission coal boilers were common. – Funded by public funds under the Air Program Clean “- stated representatives of Solidarity.
In their opinion, the proposed regulations will also make it impossible to implement the investment projects included in the Social Agreement on Mining Transformation, which was signed by the government delegation and trade unions on May 28 this year. It is about, for example, the construction of a facility for the production of low-emission fuels (electronic coal, ECOCOAL), included in the appendix to this Agreement, intended for the municipal and residential market.
Dominic wrote: “The project (…) clearly contradicts the social agreement signed by the delegation of the Polish government, which was supposed to be the basis for a truly just transformation of the mining sector and the region of Upper Silesia.” Kolors and Bogoslaw Hotek referred to the prime minister, noting that the draft regulation, “despite being of fundamental importance to the work and environment of the mining industry”, had not been consulted with trade unions.
The impact assessment of the draft regulation published by the Ministry of Climate showed that a special team, which worked from October 2020 to July 1, 2021, conducted a review of existing regulations on solid fuel quality standards. So is the government commissioner for the Clean Air Program. The team recommended that the current regulations should be changed.
“In order to improve the state of the environment, in particular the quality of the air and the health and life of the Poles, the draft regulation proposes to change some standards – the quality requirements for solid fuels specified in the annex to the regulation” – that were emphasized in the justification from the draft.
In accordance with the proposed regulations, depending on the table, the parameter of the total sulfur content in sold fuel is tightened from the current level of 1.7%. up to 1.2 percent and from 1.2 percent. Up to 1 percent The proposed regulations also limit the ash content that can be found in coal for sale to a level of 14%. up to 12 percent
The justification shows that reducing the level of sulfur in the coal helps reduce the emission of harmful dust. In the case of ash, it was emphasized that after burning it becomes waste and its quantity affects the calorific value of the fuel. The more ash in the coal, the more it needs to be burned.
The proposed regulation also changes the requirements for eco-friendly pea charcoal to those in line with European Standard EN303-5:2012 for Class 5 Solid Fuel Heating Boilers. According to Polish regulations, coal boilers can now be sold with a class of at least 5.
According to the project, environmentally friendly pea charcoal type fuel in working condition will not be allowed to have a moisture content higher than 11%. On the other hand, the ash content was determined in the range of 2 to 7%, and the calorific value (in the dry state) was above 28 MJ/kg. The permissible sulfur content in this fuel was also limited.
In Tables 4 and 5, the proposed regulation also changes the names “eco peas” and “environmental charcoal” to “peas 3” and “good fuel”, respectively. The purpose of changing the names is to ensure that they do not mislead, which means that the charcoal sold is environmental.
“Using the prefix + eco + in reference to coal or pea indicates that they are an eco-fuel, while quality standards for eco-charcoal or eco-pea charcoal do not. During discussions held as part of a solid fuel quality review, it was repeatedly pointed out that the names which contain the prefix + eco + may indicate the ecological nature of this fuel and thus mislead consumers” – indicated in the project justification.
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