Case: Waste Incineration Plant EPL versus Lviv City Council
Region: Lviv, Lviv region
Essence of case: Prevention of the environmentally dangerous project
Parties: EPL, Lviv City Council
Essence of problem: Prevention of construction of dangerous waste incineration plant through the Internet
It happens that in our work we have to use not only purely legal methods. In particular, in the following case we prevented the construction of a dangerous waste incineration plant with the help of Internet.
At the beginning of 1998 there was a publication in the local newspapers about the construction of a waste incineration plant, which had been planned by Lviv City Council (Rada). Being aware of harmfulness and environmental danger of such type of objects and of the previous repeated attempts to “grant” Ukraine with out-of-date technologies and equipment, we started gathering information concerning that project. From the officially obtained information at Lviv Regional Department of Environmental Safety we learned that there was an intention to construct a waste incineration plant in Lviv. It was proposed to locate the plant directly within the territory of the city. But the project documents had not been presented for examination by that time.
Soon Mr. V.Poluiko, a representative of City Council, who was also worrying about the mentioned question, applied to EPL. He told us about the agreement on construction of the waste incineration plant with the capacity of 200.000 tons per year and the cost of $ 90.000.000, which had been signed in May 1998 by Lviv City Council. Having analyzed the text of the signed agreement, we came to a conclusion that some provisions of the agreement had violated the legislation, as far as such decisions could not be made without the preliminary environmental impact assessment of the project. But the agreement had already envisaged payment for a ton of incinerated waste ($1,2 per ton), for electric energy that would be produced ($0,0253 per 1 KW/hour) as well as for heat energy ($17,9 per ton). We informed the representative about violation of legislation as a result of signing that agreement, and he, in turn, notified Lviv City Council. But no reaction followed. On the contrary, at that time Lviv City Council agreed on allotting a land lot in the village Soroky-Lvivski located not far from Lviv. In order to get a land lot for construction, it is necessary to receive a positive decision of Lviv City Council Session, and the procedure is rather difficult. It is much easier to do this at the level of Village Council (Rada).
Scandinavian company was offering a famous Scandinavian technology of waste incineration and, as a result of this, production of electric energy.
We were not interested in that and, thus, decided to find information about that “new technology” and that company, in particular by means of Internet. A long search of the company by its name gave no results. The address of the company was indicated in the agreement, so we managed to find a WEB page of Alvesta city where that company was supposed to be registered. In spite of the fact that the page was in Swedish, we understood information about the city and the city administration. Alvesta is a small city with a population of 20.000 citizens. Therefore, a large company with famous technologies able to invest 90 million dollars in the construction abroad must be well-known there. We sent a letter to Alvesta City Major and to the Economy Department:
The Charitable Foundation “EPL” (Lviv, Ukraine) is the public interest environmental law organization that works in the sphere of protection of environmental rights. Recently we learned that the Lviv City Council signed the agreement with Swedish company located in Alvesta:
Scandinavian Gartner Environmental Recycling AB Gerab, address: Bokelunt sv.7, S 34235 Alvesta, Sweden, represented by vice-president Mr. Kurt Johanson and Mr. Lars Palm who act in accordance with the Swedish Law and Statutory documents of the Company.
The subject of the agreement is construction and maintenance of an INCENERATOR PLANT the total cost of which is 90,000,000 USD. We know that such technology could be dangerous to environment and cause harm to the people health. We are aware of many controversial issues associated with this project, especially with respect to environmental safety. We would appreciate if you could inform us if such company exists in Alvesta and if it operates there.
We shall appreciate any information about this company you can possibly provide.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
With best wishes,
Executive Director of EPL
We were ready to receive any response, but the information we got the next day surprised even us:
Thank you for the mail. I answer instead of Kjell Rosenlцf and Anne-Christine Gustavsson.
It was nice to get a letter from Ukraine, it does not happen every day!
We do not know very much about the company you are asking about.
But we know the following things:
- Kurt Johansson lives in Alvesta and works as a taxi driver;
- Kurt Johansson works together with Lars Palm and another person (Klaus Gartner) to build and sell distant water heating plants. They have not sold any projects in Sweden but according to what they have told me they try to sell projects in other countries.
- I cannot find their company (Scandinavian Gartner Environmental Recycling AB Gerab) in my register of limited companies in Sweden. Ask them about the registration number of the companies.
Do you have a web page?
Good luck with the incinerator plant. It seems very gigantic to me!
Chief industrial development officer
We immediately sent the copies of these letters to the City Mayor, to Lviv Regional Department of Environmental Safety and informed other interested parties. Somehow journalists learned about it and such strange correspondence caused their great interest. Publications appeared in mass-media, and the citizens learned about that story.
Soon the City Council informed us that it had notified the Swedish “company” about nullifying the agreement.
In such a way the shady transaction connected with implementation of an environmentally dangerous project in Lviv has come to grief.