YLNM members, allies, experts intervene at EU special hearing on mining impactsOn the 2nd December 2021, YLNM members and allies gave critical testimony at the European Parliament's Petitions and Environment committees' special hearing on environmental and social impacts of mining activity in the EU.
Image: Snowchange Cooperative
On the 2nd December, the EU held a special hearing on the subject of the Environmental and social impacts of mining activity in the EU.
At this hearing, two EU Parliament researchers presented the findings of their research into the question of the impacts of mining in Europe.
Watch/download the livestream to hear their findings.
Their presentation of findings was followed by expert testimony from YLNM members and allies, including:
Hydrologist Dr Steve Emerman, who discussed mining standards and the ecological harms of European mining.
Dr Alexander Dunlap, who present edon the social harms of mining, transparency and citizen participation in mining processes.
Elena Solis from YLNM member organisation Ecologistas en Accíon (Spain), who adressed the issue of civil society experiences engaging with the EU on mining issues.
Their interventions were highly critical of EU claims that mining expansion in the EU will happen according to ‘world-leading’ environmental, human rights and regulatory standards.
They highlighted, in various ways, the critiques and recommendations put forward in the YLNM-facilitated popular statement on the EU’s extractive-heavy Green Deal plans, which calls for de-growth, the right to say no and dramatic demand reduction to be placed at the heart of European raw material policies. Find out more here.
Below we share transcripts of Elena, Dr Dunlap and Prof Emerman’s contributions.
Testimony: Professor Steve Emerman
“On November 24, the European Parliament adopted a resolution entitled “A European Strategy for Critical Raw Materials.” Paragraph 42 of the resolution states that “primary and secondary sourcing in the EU is subject to the highest environmental and social standards worldwide.” That statement is not true. It is not true in theory and it is not true in practice… Do not rush into opening new mines or expanding existing mines or re-opening closed mines in Europe without a convincing demonstration that there will be no adverse impacts on human life or the environment. I can summarize all of mine planning in three words: Stop and think.”
Testimony: Dr Alexander Dunlap
“In her 2019 mission letter to Thierry Breton from Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the importance of strengthening “the link between people and the institutions that serve them”. She also stated that: [And I quote] “A stronger relationship with citizens starts with building trust and confidence. I will insist on the highest levels of transparency and ethics for the College as a whole. There can be no room for doubt about our behaviour or our integrity.”[End of quote]. Meanwhile the Commission, the last five years, has allocated over 100M€ to over a dozen of Horizon2020 projects with objectives of both researching and at the same time influencing social acceptance of domestic raw material extraction. This includes mapping civic actors and campaigning at primary schools. All of the projects consortia have rejected NGO requests to disclose their public funding agreements, referring to “commercially sensitive information.” The European Commission has endorsed this activity in all cases, negating a public interest in disclosure and transparency. The Commission, moreover, has nearly financed 30 “Wider Society Learning” projects through the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) RawMaterials, with a similar objective of “building the social license” and to “achieve society acceptance” by targeting NGO’s or initiating social engineering efforts against citizens through schools and museums. The European commission must stop the various funding streams aimed at social engineering extraction in or outside the EU in order to comply with its own standards of ethics and transparency…”
Testimony: Elena Solis
“Environmental groups, local communities and individuals need to be supported, encouraged and empowered to exercise the rights and duties of active environmental citizenship in the face of a new wave of mining that risks turning European peripheries into an extractivist Wild West… In the face of so many new mining projects, the EU must develop new, legally binding protocols so that that local communities and indigenous peoples have the right to say no to mining and to protect the Rights of Nature through democratic means.”