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The Minister of the Environment Keit Pentus replied to the interpellation concerning legality of extraction of mineral resources (No 34), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Deniss Boroditš, Kalle Laanet, Valeri Korb and Rainer Vakra on 14 June.
 
The interpellators wished to know how the issuing of extraction permits is legislatively regulated and how supervision is organised.
 
Pentus explained that very efficient supervision should be exercised over any activity which damages nature in one way or another or permanently destroys landscape. In the case of a violation of law, a punishment must be imposed. In the case of an environmental damage, the damage must be claimed. The Minister noted that the Earth’s Crust Act which is currently in force enables to exercise supervision over extraction activities and it also enables to apply coercive mechanisms by imposition of punishments in the form of claiming of the environmental damage.
 
The Earth’s Crust Act regulates the principles of and the procedure for use of the earth’s crust. The Mining Act provides answers to the questions concerning extraction, and the supervision over conformity with the requirements established in the Act is exercised by the Technical Surveillance Authority operating in the area of government of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. “If a registered immovable contains materials like sand, gravel, clay, field stones or peat, then such material belongs to the owner of the registered immovable and the owner of the registered immovable also has the right to use such material for own purposes. If the owner wishes to sell, that is, to transfer such material, then he or she must have the permit of the Environmental Board,” stressed the Minister of the Environment.
 
The interpellators also wished to know the requirements concerning construction of ponds. Pentus explained that the problem has been acknowledged and the issue is being dealt with. The preparation and analysing of amending the Earth’s Crust Act has been going on in the Ministry of the Environment for some time already. At present, possible solutions are being analysed how the state could assume a much clearer leading role in the process of the planning and organisation of commencing use of mineral resources. There are issues like, for example, where extraction would be the most economic and reasonable from the environmental point of view and how to preclude the situations where opening of new mines is begun before the existing ones are exhausted or how to ensure that restoration of the land disturbed by extraction will not take too long. The issue of construction of ponds is also one of the issues which have to be dealt with, explained Pentus.
 
The Minister of Internal Affairs Ken-Marti Vaher replied to three interpellations. They were the following:
 
the interpellation concerning the employee satisfaction poll at the Police and Border Guard Board (No 28), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Kalle Laanet, Lauri Laasi, Vladimir Velman, Deniss Boroditš, Valeri Korb, Mailis Reps and Tarmo Tamm on 2 June;
 
the interpellation concerning the situation of health care services providers in ascertaining a state of intoxication (No 29), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Kalle Laanet, Deniss Boroditš, Marika Tuus-Laul, Lembit Kaljuvee, Valeri Korb, Vladimir Velman, Lauri Laasi, Peeter Võsa, Inara Luigas, Enn Eesmaa, Eldar Efendijev, Tarmo Tamm, Rainer Vakra, Priit Toobal and Ester Tuiksoo on 9 June;
 
the interpellation concerning possible corruption in local governments (No 33), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Peeter Võsa, Inara Luigas, Enn Eesmaa, Eldar Efendijev, Priit Toobal, Kalev Kallo, Ester Tuiksoo, Kadri Simson, Marika Tuus-Laul, Heimar Lenk and Vladimir Velman 9 June.
 
On the motion of the Rural Affairs Committee, the third reading of the Restrictions on Acquisition of Immovables Bill (54 SE), initiated by the Government, was excluded from the agenda for Wednesday’s sitting.
 
During the open microphone, Viktor Vassiljev took the floor.
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
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