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The Minister of the Environment Keit Pentus replied to the interpellation concerning geological explorations of phosphate deposits (No 75), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Enn Eesmaa, Ester Tuiksoo, Heimar Lenk, Lauri Laasi, Mailis Reps, Marika Tuus-Laul, Peeter Võsa, Priit Toobal, Rainer Vakra and Viktor Vassiljev on 5 December. 

Pentus asserted that no application to that effect had been submitted, and she personally as well as other representatives of the Ministry of the Environment had repeatedly confirmed that to the public. Thus: nor has the issuing of an exploration permit been considered at the Ministry of the Environment. The Minister stressed that a precondition in the case of any kind of mining and geological explorations preceding it is that local people are not opposed to such activities. Pentus noted that mining is inevitably such an activity which affects the daily life of the neighbouring people, and it is absolutely elementary that their interests are taken into account. Under the law, the local government, that is, the rural municipality or the city, has the essential obligation to express the position of the local people. 

In Pentus’s words, the rural municipality leaders of Virumaa, representatives of the rural municipality governments, have taken good action in the issue of the phosphate deposit. They have asked a specification from the Ministry of the Environment if such an application for geological investigation, amounting to no more than a speculation, has been submitted to the Ministry, and they have expressed and forwarded the positions of the people of their rural municipality at a fairly early stage. Pentus finds that such action has helped reduce fears and helped create clarity. She stressed that such action by local government leaders can certainly be considered an example of good practice. 

Pentus underlined that, in Estonia, the phosphate resources have been deemed to be submarginal due to the environmental hazards of mining. This decision has been made by the state years ago. It has been well considered and made on the grounds that mining would involve the risk, first of all, of serious disturbance of the living environment of the neighbouring people: “We are speaking of a risk of pollution of the air, surface and groundwater of such gravity and such weight that risking with it is out of the question.” Pentus explained that, for these reasons, the phosphate resources have been deemed to be submarginal in Estonia, that is, they are not subject to mining and there is no plan to change this situation. 

The Minister of the Environment also replied to the interpellation concerning keeping of records of mineral resources (No 85), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Andres Anvelt, Jaak Allik, Jaan Õunapuu, Kalvi Kõva, Marianne Mikko and Neeme Suur on 15 December. 

The Minister of Social Affairs Hanno Pevkur replied to the interpellation concerning the spread of drug addiction in Estonia (No 74), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Heimar Lenk, Marika Tuus-Laul, Peeter Võsa, Priit Toobal, Valeri Korb and Viktor Vassiljev on 24 November. 

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

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