The Bill on Amendments to the Earth’s Crust Act and the Environmental Charges Act (43 SE), initiated by Members of the Riigikogu Valeri Korb, Mati Raidma, Kalvi Kõva, Andres Metsoja, Deniss Boroditsh, Jevgeni Ossinovski and Einar Vallbaum, passed the first reading in the Riigikogu. The Bill initiated by representatives of four factions will allow enterprises that have extracted oil shale less than the prescribed annual rate during seven years to extract the remaining oil shale retroactively.
Under the decisions adopted in 2008, the rate of extraction of oil shale is 20 million tons per year. As of 2009, the extraction volumes of enterprises have been on the average 14.7 million ton per year in total, and an average of 4018 tons of oil shale per year has remained unmined.
The representative of the initiator of the Bill Deniss Boroditsh said that today’s regulation for oil shale mining is rigid. “The situation of the oil shale sector is very strongly dependent on external environmental impacts such as the electricity stock exchange price or oil price. Therefore it is important that it would be possible for the sector to quickly and simply respond to different external environmental impacts. The regulation established by the Bill will give a possibility to operatively increase the mining rate when the external environmental factors are favourable, and without affecting the environment to an impermissible extent,” Boroditsh said.
The oil shale sector accounts for approximately 2.9 per cent of national gross domestic product. The economic development and social welfare of Ida-Viru county depends on the progress of this sector. For example, for the mining and processing of one million ton of oil shale, circa 450 jobs will need to be created. For extraction of the same amount of oil shale, an environmental charge of nearly 2.4 million euro will be paid to the state a remarkable amount of which will be accrued in local government budgets.
Artur Talvik who took the floor on behalf of the Free Party Faction in the debate moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. One of the main reproaches Talvik made was too hasty proceedings of the Bill. He said that oil shale should be refined in the best possible way, and environmental impacts should be taken into account as much as possible.
At the voting, 13 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of the rejection of the Bill and 48 were against. Thus, the motion was not supported and the first reading of the Bill was concluded. The deadline for motions to amend is 10 June.
The Riigikogu passed five Resolutions:
The Riigikogu approved with 81 votes in favour (1 abstention) the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Release of the Justice of the Supreme Court Jüri Ilvest from the Office of Justice” (34 OE), initiated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Under the Resolution, Jüri Ilvest will be released from the office of justice as of 18 January 2016 at his own request in connection with his retirement.
Jüri Adams took the floor during the debate and highlighted Jüri Ilvest’s contribution to the functioning of the Estonian criminal procedure system. The plenary assembly of the Riigikogu acknowledged Jüri Ilvest’s work and activities with an applause.
The Riigikogu approved with 78 votes in favour (2 abstentions) the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of Paavo Randma a Justice of the Supreme Court” (35 OE), initiated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Under the Resolution, Paavo Randma is appointed a justice of the Supreme Court as of 1 September 2015.
In his report, candidate for justice of the Supreme Court Paavo Randma considered it important that the legal system ensure also the protection of the interests of the victim, in addition to the protection of the interests of the accused, in the criminal process. Randma also attached importance to the stability of the legal space and the understandability of the legal language of court decisions to ordinary citizens.
The Riigikogu approved with 71 votes in favour (1 against, 2 abstentions) the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Removal of Members and Appointment of New Members of the Supervisory Board of the Foundation Environmental Investment Centre” (44 OE), initiated by the Environment Committee.
Under the Resolution, Aivar Kokk, Kalev Kotkas, Tõnis Kõiv and Rein Randver are removed from the Supervisory Board of the Foundation Environmental Investment Centre, and Members of the Riigikogu Aivar Kokk, Valeri Korb, Kalvi Kõva and Mati Raidma are appointed members of the Supervisory Board.
The Riigikogu approved with 47 votes in favour (34 against) the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of Members of the Supervisory Board of the State Forest Management Centre” (45 OE), initiated by the Environment Committee.
Under the Forest Act, the Supervisory Board of the State Forest Management Centre consists of nine members, two of whom are appointed by the Riigikogu. Under the Resolution, Members of the Riigikogu Jaanus Marrandi and Andres Metsoja are appointed members the Supervisory Board of the State Forest Management Centre.
Priit Toobal who took the floor in the debate said that one member of the Supervisory Board of the State Forest Management Centre should be an opposition MP, and therefore the Centre Party did not support this draft Resolution.
The Riigikogu approved with 51 votes in favour (27 against, 2 abstentions) the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of Members of the Supervisory Board of the Estonian Development Fund” (46 OE), initiated by the Economic Affairs Committee.
Under the Estonian Development Fund Act, the Supervisory Board of the Estonian Development Fund consists of nine members, five of whom are appointed by the Riigikogu. Two of them are Members of the Riigikogu and three are representatives of enterprise and the public. Under the Resolution, Members of the Riigikogu Maris Lauri and Jevgeni Ossinovski, and Sven Papp and Mart Einasto as representatives of enterprise and the public are appointed to the Supervisory Board of the Development Fund.
The third member of the Supervisory Board of the Development Fund as a representative of enterprise and the public is Ville Jehe whose mandate as a member of the Supervisory Board expires on 13 May 2017. The Supervisory Board of the Development Fund includes also two representatives of universities and two representatives of the Government.
The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of one Bill:
The Bill on Amendments to the Water Act (23 SE), initiated by the Government, will fully transpose the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive. It provides for the obligation of Member States to develop marine strategies with the aim of achieving good status of the marine environment.
The marine strategy will be developed under the leadership of the Ministry of the Environment to protect the marine environment and to achieve and maintain good environmental status in the marine environment.
Mihhail Stalnuhhin who took the floor during the debate moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill, and Märt Sults criticised the work of the Ministry of the Environment.
Another Bill was at the first reading in the Riigikogu:
The Bill on Amendments to § 2 of the Public Holidays and Days of National Importance Act (4 SE), initiated by the Centre Party Faction, which is intended to include Easter Monday among public holidays. If the Bill entered into force, the number of public holidays in Estonia would increase to twelve.
The deliberation of the Bill was adjourned due to the end of the working hours of the Riigikogu and it will be resumed on 10 June. The account of the Minister of Culture Indrek Saar on the report on the implementation of “The Fundamentals of the Cultural Policy until 2020” in 2014 is also scheduled for the sitting on 10 June.
Video recordings of the Riigikogu sittings can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
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