3. December 2013 - Yesterday, the Romanian Senate debated and voted the proposal initiated by the Government that would amend the current Mining Law. Proposal L 304/2013 was rejected by the Senate in the absence of the needed number of votes. The law is now sent to the Chamber of Deputies, which is the decisional chamber. It is likely that this bill will be voted during the holiday season due to the pressure put by political groups that serve the interests of mining companies. The newest law initiative to foster mining companies was voted simultaneously with the forceful eviction of the resistance camp organized in the village of Pungesti, where locals oppose the extraction of shale gas through fracking.
Just a day after all Romanians celebrated the National Day, the serious subjugation of a large part of Romanian politicians and institutions such as the Gendarmerie, to the interests of various companies came out. The law that the Senate rejected yesterday by lack of quorum, was still approved by 85 senators that agreed to the undermining of legitimate national interest to the foreign financial one. The distribution of positive votes shows that PSD and PNL members voted almost uniformly in favor of this law.
The provisions of the law that the Senate voted upon yesterday include changes to the current mining law no.85/2003 that would declare the activity of private mine operators of overriding public interest and as such they would be allowed the expropriation of property legally owned by citizens. If this legislation successfully follows all stages until its adoption, it will allow companies exploring or extracting mineral resources to obtain in record time any desired land. The law refers to resources such as gold, silver, coal, construction stone, sand, ornamental rocks and methane, including shale gas.
Monday morning at around 4 a.m., local people from Pungesti resisting against the installation of Chevron’s drill and as such against the creation of a very dangerous precedent for Romania were brutally attacked by intervention forces from the Romanian Gendarmerie. Upon the pretext of “restoring public order”, the gendarmes committed grave abuses that generated victims needing hospitalization. This intervention by the Romanian armed forces is caused by the illegal support offered by the prime-minister Victor Ponta to the American company Chevron. On orders of high Romanian officials, the gendarmes acted in this case as mercenary troops offering their use of violence to private companies free of charge. In only one day after it was created, over 12000 people signed the Avaaz international petition calling for a firm position by European and international human rights decision-makers to condemn the abuses undertaken by Romanian forces.
“Decisions are taken on political grounds and all these bodies that pretend to debate legislative proposals are useless. The law that failed at vote yesterday had its fate decided in some offices where behind closed doors a handful of politicians decided that for some reason we need a law to rip off Romanian citizens of their properties. Almost all other politicians followed them as sheep, in the same manner that the bold gendarmes acted as a heard of rams sent to butt off people committed to defend their water against pollution”, declared Eugen David, President of Alburnus Maior.
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