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Greenpeace to challenge in court Neptun Deep-related zone development plan for severe environmental violations

 Environmental advocacy organization Greenpeace is suing the authorities and energy companies OMV Petrom and Romgaz for serious transgressions in the approval process of the Zone Development Urban Plan related to the Neptun Deep offshore gas exploitation project, the representatives of NGO announced on Wednesday.

Greenpeace accuses the Constanta Environmental Protection Agency (APM) of having issued the environmental permit in violation of the legal provisions.

"The approval for the infrastructure of the Black Sea offshore project was issued in absence of key studies for the correct assessment of the risks involved. APM Constanta granted the environmental permit without an adequate assessment study of the impact on the environment, without studies on the impact on the population's health, on water bodies, climate change, and without an assessment of the cross-border impact, as required by national, union and international regulations," Greenpeace informs.

According to the NGO, the Neptun Deep project is riddled with notable risks, from threats to vulnerable species in the Black Sea, to the intensification of climate change effects. Without a correct assessment of the consequences of such a project, biodiversity and ecosystems will be irreversibly affected, and extreme weather phenomena will intensify, they warn.

"The authorities must be held accountable for the irresponsible way in which they give their OK for projects with a destructive impact on people and the environment. These are the same authorities that should protect the environment and the interests of citizens, yet instead they issue sloppily devised approvals that play into corporate interests, without evaluating the impact on the health of the population and nature. We will pursue all avenues to make sure that harmful projects like Neptun Deep will not affect people's health and destroy precious marine ecosystems," said Alin Tanase, Greenpeace Romania campaign coordinator.

The lawyers representing Greenpeace argue that a cross-border procedure should have been followed from the early stage of planning, and given that "the required triple-pronged approach (project size and area covered by the plan blueprint, the effect on the Black Sea, underground waters and climate change) was completely left out", their point is that the environmental permit is illegal.