Bulgaria: The country of green terror
Bulgaria has turned into the country of green terror. Thirty-five percent of its territory is protected zones of Natura 2000; prohibitions are in place for investigations for extraction of natural gas and oil; appeals have been lodged against the building of Belene Nuclear plant, Unit No. 7 of Kozloduy NPP, the Burgas–Alexandroupoli pipeline, the South Stream pipeline and the waste treatment plant near Sofia, and there are continuous attacks against the building of new ski resorts in the mountains. These are only part of the damages caused by the greens to the economy. The actions of the “ecologists” have also led to delays in projects such as the third metro ray, the Struma Motorway and the tunnel under Shipka, writes Trud.
Two years ago, the economist Krasen Stanchev presented a serious analysis according to which, for the period 2007 – 2017, the loss of profit for the economy and the fiscus resulting from the green racketeering is about BGN 1.145 billion.
But the price is even higher: the human lives lost due to the delayed construction of the part of the Struma Motorway in the area of Kresna Gorge. In December Andrey Novakov, member of the European Parliament from GERB presented shocking data to the Commission of Petitions at the European Parliament. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Interior from 2010 to 2019 the current old and dangerous road through the gorge has seen 531 major crashes with 235 casualties.
The companies from the extractive industry are also in the crosshairs of the ecological racketeers: Elatsite Mining and Processing Plant, Asarel Medet, Aurubis, Dundee Precious, Gorubso, Overgas and many others.
Until two years ago investors were interested in reviving the gold mine in Tran municipality. The project guaranteed more than 400 workplaces in one of the poorest regions of Bulgaria and its resurgence. However, the “greens” showed up to deceive the people that uranium will also be mined, together with the gold. Under their pressure the Municipal Council at Tran organized a local referendum. Deceived by the lies of the “ecologists” more than 90% of the locals voted against the project and the investor withdrew the proposal. Tran remains with one of the highest rates of unemployment.
Similar is the fate of the investment for extraction of natural gas in General Toshevo municipality, Dobrich region. Again, after manipulations of the “ecologists”, the people living in the villages and towns in the region were asked about their opinion. Tangled in the “green” lies they voted against the project and chased away the investor.
The saga of an infrastructural project of national and European importance – the building of Lot 3.2 of the Struma Motorway – continues. The court rejected conclusively the appeals of the “greens” saying that the section of the motorway through the Kresna gorge would harm the biodiversity in the area. Nevertheless, they are still sending slanderous complaints against the project to the European institutions.
The winter tourist and sport infrastructure is also at a standstill. The attempts to modernize of the ski zones of Vitosha and Bansko are futile, because the “conservationists” are pressing the official authorities with street protests and court appeals.
Many investors abandon their intentions. The ruined projects Super Borovets, Perelik in the Rhodope Mountain, Panichishte in Rila, and the frozen Destination Rila, Kom Berkovitsa in the Balkan Mountain and Kulinoto in Pirin are a tremendous loss to the development of Bulgarian tourism, the regions and the country.
The “greens” have filed numerous appeals against business projects in Bulgaria. According to the official reference, two years ago the appeals were 1111. Green Balkans are most active with 250 appeals, followed by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds with 215 appeals, the Association of Parks in Bulgaria with 164 appeals, and the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation with 155 appeals. In addition, the Live Nature Association has lodged 186 appeals, WWF-Bulgaria – 99 appeals, Balkani Wildlife Society – 29 appeals, the Green Party (now Green Movement) – 13 appeals.
The appeals cause delays in the implementation of hundreds of projects and destroy the chances for development of whole regions.
The Closed Territories
Meanwhile there are three national parks in Bulgaria: Rila, Pirin and Central Balkans. Additionally, there are 11 nature parks and 55 reserves. There are also 36 supporting reserves, 11 wetlands, 349 natural landmarks and 502 protected areas. The zones in Natura 2000 accounting for 35% of the country’s territory engulf more than 750 000 properties of 1 100 000 private owners.
About half of the 111 000 square kilometres of Bulgaria are under some kind of ecological “protection”. As a rule of thumb these zones are the most suitable places for development of tourism, spa, agriculture, different types of production and many other activities. But this is not happening, because this territory belongs to the “ecologists”.
The Huge Profits
While boycotting and sabotaging investment projects the “ecologists” are getting large amounts of money for their participation in countless public contracts paid from the national budget and implement projects financed with European funding.
Investigations show that during the programming period 2007-2013 the organizations in the green coalition For Nature in Bulgaria had access to EUR 205 million for biodiversity under Operational Program (OP) Environment. In 2016 the newspaper published data on the funding of the “greens” obtained from the Information System for Management and Monitoring of the Structural Instruments of the EU. The data show that the funding comes from procedures under OP Environment, OP Human Resources and the LIFE programme. From the first two programmes the “ecologists” in the organizations connected to For Nature in Bulgaria have had access to BGN 7 187 045. The funding under LIFE is more serious: a total of EUR 19 595 512 or BGN 37 231 472.80. For example, the total budget allocated to the conservation of the Egyptian vulture in the LIFE programme is EUR 2 625 742 and the beneficiary is the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds. The project started in 2013 and ended in 2018. The same organization is still conserving the Eastern imperial eagle, but as a partner of EVN Electricity Distribution. The budget of this project is EUR 3 984 874.
BSPB is also a partner of the Executive Forest Agency, again in the field of eagle conservation in Bulgaria. The total budget is EUR 1 784 330. A substantial amount of money is also allocated to the conservation of the red-breasted goose implemented by BSPB: EUR 2 656 608
This is the business of the “greens”. They are accumulating huge resources causing serious harm to the Bulgarian economy and halting the development of the country. There is only one solution: the official authorities must not succumb to the ecological racketeering. Until now the attempts have been too feeble to lead to lasting results. At least the actions are in the right direction.