2021 01 15
Cardboard manufacturer AB Grigeo Klaipėda has officially contacted the Klaipėda District Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Environment, the Environmental Protection Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency in order to organize an expert discussion to assess the extent of environmental damage when incompletely treated wastewater was released into the collector of AB Klaipėdos Vanduo. According to the company, such a discussion should be attended by specialists appointed by the Prosecutor’s Office, specialists of the Environmental Protection Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as experts of the international company TIG Environmental hired by the company.
The company considers that such a discussion (expert consultation process) is necessary in order to objectively determine the fact and extent of the actual damage to the environment, as public statements of the prosecutor’s office show that their specialists have presented different findings about environmental damage than experts of TIG Environmental. Furthermore, the company became aware that the prosecutor’s office has not yet presented the findings of its specialist investigation to the Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Agency, i.e. institutions that have a legal obligation to the company to approve the environment restoration plan.
Given the fact that there are contradictions in the findings of the experts presented in the pre-trial investigation case, and the authorities, responsible for deciding on environment restoration measures, have doubts about the findings of the expert report of TIG Environmental and the methods that were used by this company, there is a need to remove existing contradictions and unify the position on the fact and extent of the damage caused to the environment. In addition, these contradictions are related not only to the findings of the experts in the pre-trial investigation case, but also to other facts relating to the determination and calculation of the damage.
“The company assumes and will assume responsibility for its activities. We are producers, not environmental specialists, so we are waiting for the determination of the fact and extent of the damage, and the approval of the plan of the environmental recovery measures. In public space we hear discussions about very different amounts of damage, so we believe that experts should sit down and review each other’s examination methods, data and findings, discuss and agree upon them, so that no one would have any doubts later,” says Tomas Eikinas, General Manager of AB Grigeo Klaipėda.
Such elimination of contradictions in the findings of specialists by organizing an expert discussion in order to compare the methods used in the specialist investigation and the scope of the examined information, is also employed in case law. In this case, the comparison of the methods used in the specialist investigation is especially significant, as the environmental experts TIG Environmental based their analysis and findings on the methods established in Directive 2004/35/EC and other international legislation, the provisions of which are mandatory to Lithuania. Such a method of damage assessment complies with the applicable legal regulation, therefore, in the company’s opinion, it must be applied during the assessment of the damage caused to the environment in the current pre-trial investigation case.
On December 21, the company organized a remote meeting, during which experts of TIG Environmental presented their findings to representatives of the Ministry of Environment, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Environmental Protection Agency, Klaipėda University, and the Nature Research Center. These findings were also sent to all responsible authorities.