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Forest Act returns to parliament

Victory
Forest Act returns to parliament
  
  

 

What and how we won!

The young people of Bulgaria marched for three consecutive days demanding justice and fairness, and the President listened! We have a veto and the Forest Act thus returns to Parliament.

Online campaigning was instrumental, and the support of Avaaz inspired many!

Now we need to observe the parliamentary proceedings carefully in order to ensure that texts that are unconstitutional, go against European law and facilitate deforestation are removed.

Why this is important to me

Amendments of Bulgaria’s Forest Act, adopted on 13 June 2012 by the Bulgarian Parliament, will lead to the plundering of the country’s last significant natural resource - its forests, including those forming Natura 2000 areas. Concerned citizens and the coalition of environmental NGOs “For the Nature” are calling on Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev to veto the unscrupulous changes and safeguard Bulgaria’s forests. The environmentalists are also sending a signal to the European Commission for unauthorized governmental aid to oligarchic corporate organisations, which the amendments represent.

The new provisions violate the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as European environmental and competition law. It will allow overdevelopment and degradation of forests, agricultural lands and protected areas and over-exploitation of forest resources, with long term adverse consequences such as habitat loss. Clearing of forests also adds to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Specific changes give companies the right to carry out construction, on land officially designated as forest, without competition, without a contract, and without payment of any fees to the state. Abolishing such fees constitutes unauthorised government aid, while the uncontested administrative transfer of construction rights constitutes a breach of competition law and is likely to give businesses with close ties to the authorities the upper hand in 'bidding' for public projects.

“The amendments of the Forest Act go against the public interest and contravene EU and Bulgarian legislation on competition as well as nature protection”, said Konstantin Ivanov, Head of Communications at WWF Bulgaria. “To put it simply, the amendments mean further deforestation and construction works in forests and protected areas. They practically allow for the construction of ski runs and ski facilities without changing land use and for the acquisition of building rights on public land without tender and for an indefinite period.”

A series of protests in the past six months have demonstrated massive public support for the protection of Bulgaria’s forests and protected areas. The public outcry, however, has been ignored by the ruling majority.

We need your help! Stop this injustice!

More information on: http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/?205209

Информация на български: http://www.wwf.bg/?205188%2Fwwf-forestlaw

Posted June 14, 2012
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