Region: Kamyanske city, Dnipropetrovsk oblast
Essence of the case: Defending the right of city residents to safe and healthy environment.
Essence of the problem: The Ministry of Environment allowed the company Rokoban to operate in Kamyanske city, namely to incinerate hazardous waste and to process livestock waste with a capacity of up to 40 000 tons per year. Contrary to the opinion of local residents who already live in extremely polluted city, as well as notwithstanding doubts about environmental safety and the suitability of the company’s equipment for this type of activity, the Ministry of Environment issued the following permission documents to Rokoban LLC: conclusion of environmental impact assessment, license to perform activities with hazardous waste and emission permit.
On October 1, 2020, the Ministry of Environment published the conclusion of the environmental impact assessment of the planned activities “Collection, transportation, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste, and further production of meat and bone meal, animal feed, which will be located at: Dnipropetrovsk oblast, Kamyanske, 2 Bahliyskyi lane. Case number: 201910294740. The Ministry of Environment has concluded that the planned activity is admissible, although the investor plans to incinerate up to 10,000 tons of hazardous waste per year and process up to 10,000 tons of hazardous waste through the pyrolysis installations. 4 pyrolysis installations and 1 incinerator, as well as a plant for processing of animal waste into animal feed, are expected to be installed on the site.
EPL analyzed the EIA report and found a number of gaps, unreliable data: http://epl.org.ua/eco-analytics/analiz-zvitu-z-ovd/
Our European colleagues also provided their opinion regarding the fact that the equipment which Rokoban LLC plans to use for hazardous waste disposal is unfit for this purpose:http://epl.org.ua/announces/oh-my-god-yak-mindovkillya-dozvolylo-sporudzhennya-zavodu-z-utylizatsiyi-ta-zneshkodzhennya-nebezpechnyh-vidhodiv-u-m-kam-yanske/
Kamyanske’s air pollution problems are well known to both Kamyanske City Council and the Ministry of Environment: http://epl.org.ua/announces/chym-dyhatymut-zhyteli-m-kam-yanske/
On February 19, the order of the Ministry of Environment to issue a license to Rokoban LLC (USREOU 42747947) for hazardous waste management was published on the website of the Ministry of Environment. Although EPL did not have access to Rokoban LLC license file materials to analyze the documents submitted by this company, EPL gained access to these documents through involvement in a lawsuit initiated by the Kamyanske City Council. The analysis of these documents demonstrated numerous inconsistencies of the equipment of Rokoban LLC with the Licensing Conditions for Hazardous Waste Management. As we found out, such a “good faith” investor does not actually possess any hazardous waste disposal equipment, everything is leased, even containers for waste storage! The premises – a warehouse intended for the company’s activities – is also rented. http://epl.org.ua/announces/litsenzuvannya–vichnyj–kamin–spotykannya–mindovkillya/
Moreover, paragraph 16 of the Licensing Conditions indicates: It is prohibited to carry out other types of activities not related to hazardous waste at the area allocated for their disposal. According to the EIA conclusion, it is also planned to operate a meat and bone meal and animal feed production line on the territory rented by Rokoban LLC, which will not include hazardous waste management. Thus, the treatment of animal waste (animal by-products) envisaged at the Rokoban LLC facility according to the EIA conclusion is not a hazardous waste management, therefore, it cannot be carried out simultaneously with the licensed activity for which the Ministry of Environment has issued a license.
The Ministry of Environment permitted Rokoban LLC to carry out operations with used lead-acid batteries (disposal and treatment), but no evidence of the availability of proper equipment or technological lines for such activities was provided. Moreover, the EIA report states (p. 19) that the batteries are not disposed of or recycled at this facility, but will be temporary stored. Rokoban LLC had to provide the Ministry with the data on equipment and technological lines to process the used lead-acid batteries, but failed. The list of LLC Rokoban equipment does not even contain containers for storage of electrolyte.
Kamyanske City Council v. the Ministry of Environment (EIA Conclusion)
Kamyanske City Council filed an administrative lawsuit against the Ministry of Environment to appeal the EIA Conclusion of 29.09.2020 № 21/01-201910294740/1, issued by the Ministry of Environment to Rokoban LLC (third party) for the planned activity “Activity on collection, transportation, storage, processing, utilization and neutralization of hazardous waste and further production of meat and bone meal, animal feed in Kamyanske city”.
The judge involved the “Comfortable city” NGO from Kamyanske in the case No. 640/24964/20 as a third party on the plaintiff’s side. The head of the EPL Legal Department, attorney Olha Melen-Zabramna, represented it in court. The head of the “Comfortable city” NGO Tetyana Vasylenko applied for EPL legal aid long time ago.
On July 28, 2021 the District Administrative Court of Kyiv passed a decision on granting the suit of Kamyanske City Council to the Ministry of Environment, as well as declaration of invalid of the EIA conclusion.
The decision of the court of first instance can be found here (in Ukrainian): https://reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/98678700
On September 13, 2021, the Sixth Administrative Court of Appeal issued a decision in case No. 640/24964/20, which opened appeal proceedings based on the appeal of ROKOBAN Limited Liability Company against the decision of the Kyiv District Administrative Court of July 28, 2021 in the case of an administrative claim filed by Kamyanskyi City Council against the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine, third parties – “ROKOBAN” LLC, NGO “Comfortable City ” in challenging of the decision (link to the specified decision: https: //reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/99586427).
Ultimately, based on the results of the review of the appeal, the appeal of the LLC “ROKOBAN” and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine was dismissed. The decision of the District Administrative Court of the city of Kyiv dated July 28, 2021 was left unchanged. You can find the court decision at: https://reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/101035688
Kamyanske City Council v. the Ministry of Environment (License)
Kamyanske City Council has filed another lawsuit against the Ministry of Environment to challenge their order to issue a license for hazardous waste management in Kamyanske. “Comfortable city” NGO was also involved as a third party in this lawsuit on the plaintiff’s side. The head of the EPL’s Legal Department, attorney Olha Melen-Zabramna, represents “Comfortable city” NGO in court.
The Prosecutor’s Office of Dnipropetrovsk oblast also joined the case on the plaintiff’s side and upheld the claims of the city council.
On July 26, 2021, the Dnipropetrovsk Administrative District Court ruled to satisfy the claim against the Ministry of Environment, which illegally issued a license for hazardous waste management to Rokoban LLC.
The decision of the court of first instance can be found here: https://reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/98673609
On September 20, 2021, the Third Appeal Administrative Court, by its decision in case No. 160/3671/21, extended to the limited liability company “ROKOBAN” the deadline for appealing the decision of the Dnipropetrovsk District Administrative Court dated July 26, 2021 in administrative case No. 160/3671/21 and opened appeal proceedings on the appeal of the limited liability company “ROKOBAN” against the decision of the Dnipropetrovsk District Administrative Court dated 26.07.2021 in administrative case No. 160/3671/21 (link to the relevant decision: https://reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/99795254 )
On October 12, 2021, the proceedings in administrative case No. 160/3671/21 were suspended until the decision in case No. 640/24964/20 entered into force. On November 22, 2021, proceedings in administrative case No. 160/3671/21 were resumed (link to the relevant decision: https://reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/100589732)
The Third Appeal Administrative Court in its decision dated June 15, 2022 in case No. 160/3671/21 decided: the appeal of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources should be upheld. The appeal of the LLC “Rokoban” should be upheld. The decision of the Dnipropetrovsk District Administrative Court dated July 26, 2021 in administrative case No. 160/3671/21 to be annulled and a new resolution adopted – to refuse to satisfy the claims of the Kamyanske City Council.
You can find out more about this resolution at the link: https://reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/104817570
The third party – “Comfortable city” NGO – filed a second appeal on the decision of the appeal court, but the Supreme Court of Ukraine, High Administrative court considered second appeal and decided to return it to the applicant. The court based its decision dated 22.08.2022 on the art. 332 of the Code of Administrative Proceedings of Ukraine, as the applicant failed to formulate the grounds for the reconsideration of the decision of the appeal court. You can find out more about this resolution at the link: https://reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/105852425