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ClientEarth: Another Legal Victory

In October 2018, ClientEarth, together with their partners WWF Greece and Greenpeace Greece, brought a legal challenge against the Greek authorities’ decision to renew the permits for two lignite burning Greek power plants. Lignite, a form of brown coal, is one of the most polluting fossil fuels both in terms of air quality and CO2.

For years, the Greek authorities has given preferential treatment to state-owned power company PPC. In the case of Meliti I and its sister plant Meliti II, the Greek state granted environmental permits without evaluating the health, environmental or climate impacts the installations might have.  Known as an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), this evaluation is required under EU law when granting an environmental permit. Their case asserted that by failing to carry out the evaluation, the Greek authorities had breached EU and Greek law.

Following legal action Greece has ruled to annul the environmental permits for two state-owned lignite-fired power plants. The ruling has put the final nail in the coffin for planned power plant Meliti II and left its sister plant Meliti I operating without legal permission.

ClientEarth energy lawyer Eleni Diamantopoulou said: “This is a significant win for protecting Greek people and the environment from the harmful effects of burning lignite.” [14 January 2020]