The Tskaltubo Magistrate Court on April 28 found Enka Renewables, the company behind the construction of the controversial Namakhvani Hydropower Plant project on Western Georgia’s Rioni River, guilty of failing to comply with the terms set by environmental assessment and ecological expertise, and issued a fine of GEL 5,000 (USD 1,450).
The plaintiff, the Department of Environmental Supervision of the Ministry of Environmental Protection alleged that Enka Renewables commenced preparatory works for the construction process with disregard for the conclusions of ecological expertise and the environmental decision, issued on the basis of the Environmental Protection Minister’s order of February 28, 2020.
During the trial, activists against Namakhvani HPP rallied outside the Tskaltubo Court building. “It is unfortunate that in the face of such significant [environmental] breaches the legislation does not encompass appropriate liability on the part of the company,” remarked Varlam Goletiani, one of the leaders of the Save the Rioni Gorge Movement, claiming the fined amount is not proportional to the violations committed by Enka Renewables
Marita Museliani, another leading activist, said the court decision formally acknowledges that the company operates with violations, adding that it also undermines the firm’s reputation. She stressed that with the court case, the Department of Environmental Supervision pointed out that the project entered the construction phase, including the construction of the dam – a claim denied by the company.
On its part, Enka Renewables, which did not attend court hearings, said today that the plaintiff’s motion referred to diverging interpretations of the work plan timeframe, as of October 2020, and that the issue is now solved anyway. “We do not agree with the contents of the appeal, yet the company will not appeal the court ruling in the higher instance” of the court, it added.
Follow our Namakhvani tag for earlier developments about the controversial project.