Saturday, February 17, 2007

Poles Plan To Pave Over One Of Europe's Only Wetlands

The Rospuda Valley is one of Europe's most unique wetlands. According to Greenpeace, the wetland in northeast Poland is home to a wide array of flora and fauna, many of them extremely rare, even on the verge of extinction! Sounds like the perfect place to run a road through, right folks? Sadly, the Polish government thinks so, and is going ahead with plans to build a 17-kilometer stretch of an elevated highway through the Rospuda wetland to the popular Mazurian lakes resort town of Augustow. Doubly sadly, the country's evironmental minister Jan Szyszko has signed off on the project. The highway is a piece in a bigger asphalt puzzle. The idea is to build a highway linking Poland with its fellow EU friends up in the Baltic, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Not everyone is smitten with the project, and not just granola-crunching tree-huggers. Poland's Ombudsman and the bigger honchos in Brussels, the European Commission, think the project doesn't meet strict EU environmental rules. According to German news agency dpa, the European Court of Justice could hand down fines if they find the project violates EU legislation. Greenpeace is taking action as well, more direct. They've set up a camp in Rospuda to block construction.

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