The Slovenia Times

Govt cancels changes to Lex Magna, NGO appeased nonetheless


Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek told the press after the cabinet session that the government's legal service as well as several ministries had rejected the idea of amending Lex Magna, because they wanted environmental issues resolved in a systemic fashion.

"Thus we decided unanimously to solve this together with the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning," the minister told the press after developments that threatened to derail the plans of the Austro-Canadian firm in Hoče.

The changes had been proposed by the Regional Environmental Association of Environmentalists (ROVO), which announced a challenge while suggesting that the investment could only proceed if it is exempt from waters act provisions governing protected areas.

The government is arguing it did not want to solve this issue only for one specific investor, pointing out that there have also been other investors that obtained permits in the same procedure as Magna in the past, among them aluminium producer Talum and brewery Pivovarna Union.

Faced with delays in Magna's timeline and announcements the company would for the time being cover the recently reduced orders at its plant in Graz, ROVO and government officials agreed last week the government would debate the amendments.

ROVO representative Gorazd Marinček, however, announced at the same time that Environment Minister Jure Leben's promise to overhaul the waters act and thereby systemically address the issue of drinking water pollution was a sufficient guarantee to the NGO for the time being.

The NGO said today it would refrain from the appeal, "for the sake of the 200 people employed at Magna Nukleus and their families, and the additional 200 who are to be hired by 2022."

This means the environmental permit for Magna's paint shop will become final on 11 March, according to Minister Počivalšek.

But ROVO said this did not mean it would refrain from challenging permits in the second phase of Magna's project in Hoče-Slivnica.

The NGO also set 16 demands to protect water sources in the area, including a demand for the municipality to deny Magna access to own water source.

Leben said after last week's meeting that he was responsible for health and environment in the country, but that in some cases the state's interest prevailed.

Počivalšek repeated today that Magna planned to secure 404 jobs in the first stage of the investment, while another 3,000 are envisaged in the second and third phases.


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