Left-click and drag the map above; the mouse wheel magnifies the view. Or click at "show" for a full screen view.
Some basic facts. The Polish area above (roughly 5 km times 5 km; with the lunar landscape that will be pretty later in this century, like many similar places in Czechia) is near the Czech (and also German) border. Czechia is in the South and the mine is one of Poland's largest lignite reserves. There should be around 760 million (metric...) tons of brown coal there. The annual production is 27.7 million tons of coal. I can't find the fresh prices but 1 metric ton of coal was around $35 in 2019. Multiply and you will see that the value of the coal there is some $27 billion and about $1 billion should be extracted in a year. A fraction of this price is eaten by the expenses, however.
Alternatively, the brown coal may be looked at as the only source of the nearby 2 GW Turów power station. 2 GW = 2 GJ/s gets translated to 63,000,000 GJ = 17,500,000 MWh per year. If you divide $1 billion per year by 17,500,000 MWh per year, those "per year" cancel and you get the price $57 per MWh. The current electricity prices are twice or thrice as high in Central Europe, Poland's prices are between 1/2 and 2/3 of the price anywhere else, thanks to King Coal. Poland is already ready to import the resources and/or energy from Russia, despite the hostile relationships that have exised for a long time (only the U.S. and Czechia, formerly the best friend of the USSR, made it to the recent list of hostile nations of Russia LOL).
At any rate, some people have complained that the water level in their water wells dropped, or something like that. Some measurable problems (perhaps also noise) only applies to one village called Uhelná in Czechia. Because the complaints are almost completely confined to this village, I think that you need to know some facts about that village. Start with the Panorama Street View and walk through this neat tiny village for a while.
"Uhelná" means "The Feminine Coal One [The Coal Village]", the German name was "Kohlige", too. I will call it The Coal One. This name makes it really strange when the villagers are complaining against the mining of coal. Now, the village is technically a part of Hrádek nad Nisou [Little Castle Upon the Neisse River]. The Little Castle has 7,800 people but The Coal One only has... 33 inhabitants who live at... 22 addresses. A minute ago, you could have easily looked at all the houses in The Coal One.
Great. So the "damage" that is being done is that about 22 water wells don't have enough water. 22 damn water wells. This "problem" has been leveraged – through the Czech government and rogue EU courts – to an argument that is claimed to have the capacity to stop the coal mining in Turów. Just think about the proportions for a millisecond. The Turów coal mine produces something like $1 billion worth of coal annually; and someone claims that the shortage of water for 33 people is a sufficient argument to existentially threaten the coal mine.
Can you provide 33 people with an alternative source of water with a small fraction of $1 billion a year? You bet. And the Polish prime minister has indeed proposed a solution. I have no doubts that he can propose – and he has probably proposed – an extremely generous solution to all these problems. He is preserving (and he will surely preserve) the mining of coal worth $1 billion a year or so. How much is water for 33 people in the same year? A Czech person needs some 100 liters per day or 36,000 liters per year. In Pilsen, after some huge increases of prices, we pay CZK 0.10 per liter (which includes the sewer rates). So it is CZK 3,600 per person per year or CZK 100,000 or $5,000 per year for 33 people who live in The Coal One.
The insanity of this absurd argumentation has made it possible for $5,000 worth of water in a year (which Poland may easily deliver there in many different ways) to threaten the mining of coal for $1 billion per year. The ratio of these two prices is 200,000. Two hundred thousand. It is completely insane. For all practical purposes and most of the impractical purposes, the damage done to the water wells in The Coal One is zero. Sadly, the European Union is full of loons who are ready to fight to preserve some $5,000 and they are willing to pay (your) $1 billion for their fight along the way. No one even dares to torture them when they destroy a billion after billion, a trillion after trillion, and, more importantly, the freedom of half a billion of people.
Nevertheless, the Czech government has irresponsibly teamed up with the nasty EU scumbags whose motivations are clear:
- They want to harm Poland which is one of the two main "heretics" according to the jerks in Brussels, along with its main ally, Hungary. Unlike a sick mob of Western European nations, both countries preserve the European values, nation states, the white people's traditions in Europe, conventional families, and the health of their economies, among other things.
- They want to harm the coal production because Brussels is full of Gr@tins that decided to fight against the most sensible source of energy. As you know, the utterly unscientific superstitions about the dangerous man-made climate change are powering the looney behavior of these believers (and especially opportunists who exploit the fanaticism of the brainwashed millions).
- The EU bureaucracy wants to damage the relationship inside the Visegrád Group which sometimes acts as a promising platform that opposes the ongoing crazy far left transformation of the EU. Most frequently, Slovakia is being chosen as the fifth volumn within the V4 group. Here it is Czechia, the second least reliable member of V4.
- Last but not least, the EU apparachiks want to weaken the importance of the borders between nations. They want these "neighbors' disputes" to be equivalent to neighbors' disputes within a single country or even a single village because they want the whole EU to behave as a single country, a country that they want to control on top of that.
The EU court has ordered the fine of €500,000 to be paid by Poland to Czechia every day. Think about this number quantitatively. In a year, it makes some €180 million which is a lot but it is still just some 20% of the "value of the coal" mined in a year that we mentioned, one billion dollars. Because it would be far more catastrophic to stop the coal mining and the nearby power station, it is obvious that Poland must rationally decide to keep on mining that coal even if it is forced to pay this fine. The profitability of coal may have been debatable because of the anti-market CO2 indulgences that the Gr@tins of the whole world (and especially the EU) are shoving down the nations' throats. But the catastrophically growing electricity prices (almost completely a consequence of the Gr@tin policies) make it clear that the profits from coal and the coal electricity will be more than enough to pay the expenses, CO2 indulgences, as well as the large "fines paid to Czechia".
Is that fine fair? I have already told you what is the approximate price of the water delivery to the 33 Czech people. It is $5,000 per year, not $200 million per year (the fine). The ratio is 40,000. So the EU fine is not fair at all, it is inflated by a factor of forty thousand or so! Again, forty thousand is a number that is much greater than one. The verdict is completely insane and as far as I am concerned, the Polish government has the moral right to assassinate the judges behind this verdict as terrorists who threaten the existential interests of Poland. Another way to show the absurdity of the fine is to notice that after one week of such fines, Czechia would have enough money to build completely new houses for all inhabitants of The Coal One.
The sanity, justice, or the sense of proportion has completely evaporated. Well, it hasn't evaporated randomly or spontaneously. It is especially the EU institutions that have evaporated these three things with a flock of flame-throwers. The EU is run by batshit crazy lunatics and the Czech government plays the role of a useful idiot that doesn't seem to appreciate the stakes.
Czechoslovakia and Poland have fought the January 1919 Seven-Day War. Czechoslovakia – which simply needed to keep the coal infrastructure plus the whole East-West Czechoslovak railway that had belonged to Austria-Hungary, despite the previous Czechoslovak-Polish mutual agreement to respect the border of ethnic majorities – was technologically superior and a fraction of the Polish army was fighting against the Soviet Union. So Czechoslovakia easily won on the ground. Some Polish diplomatic complaints have neutralized that Czechoslovak victory and turned it into a draw. After the Second World War, Czechoslovakia regained the whole territory that it had won back in 1919 (mostly because it was appreciated by the Allies that back in 1938 when Poland took a part of the territory back, Poland acted as a softcore ally of the loser, Germany). See e.g. this Quora answer of mine (and several other answers that I linked to) for more comments about this formerly disputed region.
I want to get to some morally legal questions. This dispute is analogous to a dispute between neighbors who own two houses. One of them can grow a high tree or make a noise or do something else that negatively affects the other guy. That guy complains. It may be tough. These two guys are likely to defend their own interest in a very biased way. A national court may decide about their dispute according to some laws. In some cases, it may prevent one of the dudes from doing something on his own yard. This analogy is sometimes proposed as an argument why Czechia, with the modified water levels, should be able to stop mining in that large Polish mine. Let me list the key points here:
- As I have calculated above, the fairly quantified damages made to the Czech subjects are ludicrously negligible, can be compensated, and indeed, Poland has already proposed some compensation or help that solves the real difficulties that people have enumerated.
- The same point described in the opposite way: The damages caused to Poland by the forced termination of the coal mining would be incomparably larger, and that is why it would be much more correct to call Poland a victim of this co-existence of neighbors.
- When the activity on some land XY is disputed, it is still the owner of XY and not the neighbor whose view should be more important. This is what the ownership means. While I would agree that the Polish treatment of the mine has been insensitive to the neighbors, "insensitive" just mustn't be enough to mean "legally unacceptable". They still have the right to do it. To deny this statement of mine means to deny the basic ownership rights; and to impose the dictatorship of emotions and whining snowflakes.
- We have seen numerous similar "environmentally powered disputes between neighbors". Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros was a communist-era but sensible water dam project on the Slovak-Hungarian border that the (then green) Hungarians decided to hate. The Hungarian part was cancelled, Hungary still gave (the newly independent) Slovakia a hard time while the scaled down project was reduced. Austria has protested against the 2 Czech nuclear power plants and some others in the adjacent countries. And there may have been others in the region. Czechia or Czechoslovakia has often been on the side of the "active player" that was (spuriously) claimed to do something terrible by a neighbor. It's very bad that our government doesn't appreciate how annoying these whining neighbors are.
- More conceptually: Some protection against "noise made by a neighbor" is a low-level law or regulation that can only be adopted by a nation state or a village or a similar coherent bloc. It just cannot and shouldn't apply to pairs of estates that belong to different countries. The reason is that only the laws that may be enforced are meaningful. And for the national sovereignty to exist, we just cannot allow laws that allow the intervention of one country into another that kills billions in revenue and uses $5,000 petty water complaints as an excuse. The victim (I mean the side that would lose the billions) would defend itself vigorously, anyway.
People expect to be "protected against noise" or "protected against a dropping water level in their water well". They also expect the government to "protect them from undesirable weather events or climate change" and since early 2020, most people in the West apparently expect the government to "guarantee their immortality, at least when it comes to infectious respiratory diseases". Well, you just can't have this perfect protection against everything that you don't like. It is physically impossible (because most of the relevant processes transcend the government's power: an intense weather activity and climate change exists even if mankind is completely removed from the picture; and highly infectious viruses spread even if you tell millions to behave) and in most cases, it is even mathematically impossible because the "total protection" would involve mutually excluding interests of two people on the opposite sides of a dispute.
But the people, brainwashed by the hardcore culture of entitlement and the idiotic yet omnipresent socialist propaganda, expect things like that to be universal rights. You apparently have the right not to hear noise that you don't like (in the countries overwhelmed by the SJW scum, they also have the right not to hear opinions that they don't like). Sorry, you can't have such rights. When you live in Crete, it may happen that your building experiences a 6.0-magnitude earthquake (like it did today). Courts and governments can't guarantee that such earthquakes won't happen. They can't even insure everyone against such things. If they insured too many things (if they promised a financial compensation), they could be forced to a big bankruptcy as whole countries. For the same reason, the health insurance mustn't be "completely unlimited"; it is always limited at least by the non-bankrupt status of the health insurance company (if you completely socialize them, you still need the whole country not to go bankrupt, and the Soviet Union is a sufficient lesson to show to all brain-alive people that overregulated countries and empires may implode very easily). You may insure yourself against some bad events and you will be compensated if they happen and if the insurance company isn't dead yet by that time. But sometimes one of these conditions is violated and something that you don't like just happens to you. Before most people were spoiled obnoxious entitled brats like Gr@ta Thunberg, they were facing undesirable things many times a day a they thought it was called life. If you live a life in which you feel insured against everything that you don't like, then you are a parasite that participates at the raping of the whole system and I assure you that millions of people who live fairer lives with problems are wishing death to you.
The default situation is and must be that you are just not insured against (any) undesirable things, like a dropping water level in your water well. You may reduce the probability that such things affect you by insuring yourself in some way; buying real estate that is unlikely to suffer from similar risks, and so on. But there will still be events that you won't like. At least in a sane world, there will be some.
The protection of the water level in your water well is extremely far from a universal human right (and human rights are only meaningful once they become civil rights which are codified as a convention/law by a coherent group of citizens such as a nation state). It is a luxurious entitlement that can only result from a technically detailed regulation that only highly coherent – and somewhat overbureaucratized – communities such as towns or nation states may enforce. These communities need to pay or incentivize some people (cops) who enforce them. The enforcement costs something, you just cannot assume that laws and human rights and entitlements "exist for free" or in the default state. In the default state, people had bare buttocks and they couldn't afford the enforcement of anything, so there were no civil rights let alone welfare or entitlemenets there. Such "small regulations" (like the protection of water wells against neighbors) just cannot be or shouldn't be enforced at the international level. So the default assumption must have been that if your water well is negatively affected by a nearby estate in another nation state, then it is your bad luck. Risks like that (sometimes they involve a higher probability of a war, like in 1919, that is when people on the border had bigger problems that the water level in a well) simply belong to the traits of estates near national borders.
These particular risks (the risk that your water level will drop; but especially the higher risk that a rogue neighbor in another country will prevent you from mining your coal by using some EU assholes as his nuclear weapon) reduce the fair price of the estates near the national borders. However, it's completely wrong to say that the estates near border must always be cheaper because they are more risky. They also differ in other ways and many of them are positive. For example, people near the German border may sell gasoline to Germans for a higher price (Germany plans to add some gasoline tax which will make the gasoline price twice as high as in Czechia or Poland). They have the opportunity to buy things cheaply and sell it expensively to the foreigners! And that is just one class of examples of advantages.
Przerażajace. „Czechów nie obsługujemy" - ostrzega wywieszony na drzwiach polskiego pubu Alaska w Bogatyni plakat - pisze Wyborcza.— tomasz.golonko (@TomaszGolonko) September 24, 2021
Polityka niezgodny zbiera żniwa. Politycy nie studzą emocji, tylko podsycają. Jesteśmy skłóceni już z całym światem. Fot. Agencja Gazeta. pic.twitter.com/oP7ef12B4m
OK, a pub near the Turów coal mine shows this cute Little Mole [krteček], the hero of a Czech cartoon for babies that is popular not only in Czechoslovakia but also in Poland (and other countries) – the Little Mole is a symbol of Czechia in the eyes of many Poles (check the Czech e-Market in Poland) although this animal was recently bought by the Chinese (from the granddaughter of the cartoonist) and turned into the best friend of a Fat Chinese Panda LOL – and they inform the potential guests that "they don't serve the Czechs". At some places, they may refuse you because you are not vaccinated and you have had no Covid tests (truly decent people have had zero of both); here I would also be refused because I am Czech. An ironic fact about this ban is that the mole is one of the most productive miners in the coal mine, as their very picture proves! ;-)
At any rate, I find it obvious that Poland will keep on realizing the importance of coal in its economy and it won't stop the coal mining in Turów because of these crazily petty complaints (and it won't even stop it if it has to pay the €180 million per year in fines). The electricity prices were going up (and they will probably keep on rising more) and the Poles are sensible enough to realize that they simply cannot stop an important lignite mine and/or the corresponding power plant. It's too bad that the European Union has been hijacked by morons and psychopaths who don't understand that this issue – the accessibility of cheap enough electricity – is by far the most important consideration in this saga. And it's bad that the Czech politicians, often standing on the opportunist edge in between the sensible Poles and Hungarians; and the batshit crazy Western European politicians and activists, have chosen to side with the dark world of the EU for petty egotist (but ultimately irrational) reasons.
I apologize to all the Poles who agree with me that the behavior of the Czech politicians is bad. The Czech public has a lot of common sense and believe me that if this dispute were carefully argued, the support for the Polish government's position could actually be much higher in Czechia than in Poland! Yes, of course, there are actually lots of Poles who criticize their government because they prefer to be the EU's useful idiots instead. The public in the two countries is split more ideologically and less nationally than some people would like to pretend.