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At today’s sitting of the Riigikogu, the Bill which will provide for acceptance of the amendments to the Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter passed the first reading.

The amendments included in the Protocol the rules for carrying out export of carbon dioxide streams for dumping and other geoengineering works (at the moment, only ocean fertilization). The amendments to the Protocol have a substantive impact globally, but they have little impact on Estonia.

When presenting the Bill on the Acceptance of the 2009 and 2013 Amendments to the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (711 SE), initiated by the Government, the Minister of the Environment Siim Kiisler said that the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, or the London Convention, had been adopted in 1972. Kiisler said that the convention regulated globally dumping at sea, that is, sinking of solids, including wastes and other materials, into the sea, and the convention required that such activities should create no marine pollution.

The minister pointed out that the Protocol adopted in 1996, which specified the environmental safety requirements for dumping and the related activities, was also attached to the London Convention. “The Protocol was amended in 2009 and in 2013, and this Bill discusses accession to the amendments to the Protocol,” the minister said. Kiisler said that 87 countries had acceded to the Convention, and 50 had acceded to the Protocol, and many Baltic Sea countries had acceded to both the Convention and the Protocol. He added that Latvia and Lithuania were preparing accession.

The minister said that, as a new activity to be regulated, the amendments to the Protocol discussed sinking of carbon dioxide streams, or more correctly, the sequestration of carbon dioxide streams in sub-seabed geological formations so that they remained contained there. He added that it also discussed sea fertilization and geoengineering works in the sea.

“The new activities regulated under the Bill, such as placing carbon dioxide in the sea and fertilization related to the sea, or geoengineering works, have never been performed in the Estonian marine area,” Kiisler said. He noted that, nevertheless, the acceptance of the amendments to the Protocol was still necessary. “With that we will ensure that Estonian administrative agencies issue permits complying with requirements in the case of activities in marine areas outside national jurisdictions, that is, in areas that are not regulated by any national legislation,” the minister said.

Member of the Environment Committee Meelis Mälberg, who made a report on behalf of the committee, gave an overview of the discussions that had been held at the committee meeting.

A Bill was dropped from the proceedings of the Riigikogu:

The Bill on Amendments to the Language Act (666 SE), initiated by members of the Riigikogu Tarmo Kruusimäe, Priit Sibul, Jaak Madison, Henn Põlluaas, Madis Milling, Igor Gräzin, Jaanus Karilaid and Märt Sults, provided for increasing the upper limit for the relevant penalty payment from 640 euro to 6400 euro, in order that the Language Inspectorate would have the possibility to better and more efficiently perform the activities assigned to it. The Bill was intended to improve compliance with the Language Act, to positively motivate the heads of agencies and undertakings, with a view to contributing more to the Estonian language studies of employees.

During the debate, Mihhail Stalnuhhin from the Centre Party Faction, Madis Milling from the Reform Party Faction, Henn Põlluaas from the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction, Toomas Jürgenstein from the Social Democratic Party Faction, Helir-Valdor Seeder from the Faction Isamaa and Andres Herkel from the Free Party Faction took the floor.

The lead committee moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. 32 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 16 were against. Thus the Bill was dropped from the proceedings of the Riigikogu.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/en/201810251000.

Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu (NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Marie Kukk
+372 631 6456; +372 5821 3309
[email protected]
Questions: [email protected]