The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of a Bill and heard the replies to ten interpellations
At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu continued the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Environmental Charges Act and the Forest Act (300 SE), initiated by the Government.
The purpose of amending the Environmental Charges Act is to update the rates for the pollution charges in the ambient air and aquatic sectors, and regarding oil shale waste and hazardous waste. At the same time, the upper limit for the oil shale extraction charge will be amended, the limits for the fishing rights charge will be updated and the bases for calculating the charge for fishing eel will be amended. The Bill will amend the Environmental Charges Act by adding the deforestation rights charge as a new type of charge and will make amendments relating to the use of the charge in the Forest Act.
The Bill provides for raising the rates for the pollution charges from 1 July next year. New charge rates will be established for the release of pollutants into ambient air, water bodies, groundwater, and soil, as well as for disposal of hazardous waste and oil shale waste.
The Bill provides that environmental charges will rise gradually in 2024–2027. The annual increase in the charge rates will be based on the environmental impact and hazardousness of pollutants, and the need to reduce the release of pollutants into the environment. According to the explanatory memorandum, the pollution charge rates have remained unchanged for years and are no longer adequate for pricing the use of the environment.
The deforestation rights charge will be included in the Environmental Charges Act as a new type of charge in order to limit the decrease in the area of forest lands. In addition, the Bill will increase the limits for the fishing rights charge and amend the bases for calculating the charge for fishing eel.
During the debate, Jaak Aab (Centre Party), Andres Metsoja (Isamaa), Tarmo Tamm (Estonia 200), and Evelin Poolamets (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor.
The Estonian Centre Party Group, Isamaa Parliamentary Group and the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Group moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. The result of voting: 31 votes in favour and 48 against. The motion was not supported. The first reading was concluded. The deadline for submission of motions to amend was set as 5.15 p.m. on 6 November.
The Riigikogu heard the replies to ten interpellations
The Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev replied to the interpellations concerning deceitful policy (No. 148 and No. 225), transparency of the legislative process (No. 188) and the establishment of a car tax (No. 154, No. 340 and No. 423), the impact of inflation on the area of administration of the ministry (No. 144) and the impact that the obstruction of the issue of the authorisations for the provision of virtual currency services and overregulation are having on the business environment and international image of Estonia (No. 332), submitted by members of the Riigikogu.
According to an agreement between the interpellators and the Prime Minister, the interpellation concerning the underfunding of roads (No. 36) was not discussed at today’s sitting.
The sitting ended at 8.25 p.m.
Video recording will be available to watch later on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.