Draft law on combating environmental crime referred back to committee

Following the amendments tabled on Wednesday, the draft law to combat environmental crime will be resubmitted to the Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Forestry. The changes envisioned in the design increase penalties for environmental violations.

On Wednesday, the Sejm considered the report of the Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Forestry on work on the government bill to amend certain laws to combat environmental crime. When the deputies tabled amendments, the Sejm again referred the bill to the Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Forestry.

6 substantive corrections

According to MP Anna Paluch (PiS), 6 substantive amendments were made to the draft during the committee’s work.

Two amendments to the law of 20 July 1991 on the environmental protection inspection aim to remove doubts in interpretation regarding the application of the provisions and their implementation and to clarify the regulations.

– Another amendment concerns the Forest Act of 28 September 1991. It concerns the implementation of environmental monitoring by employees of the Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection (CIEP) and persons who conduct investigations in connection with the implementation of national environmental monitoring. This change grants access to forest areas to individuals who are not employees of the Chief Inspectorate of Environmental Protection, but who monitor the fieldwork required to prevent and combat environmental crime, MP Paluch said.

Another amendment amends the Toll Road Act and the National Road Fund, and expands the catalog of vehicles exempt from tolls to include vehicles from the Environmental Protection Inspectorate.

The next amendment, Paluch explained, “amends the Waste Act and allows the County Marshal to immediately remove the entity from the Waste Register (BDO) in the event of the repeal or expiration of waste management decrees, so that the Marshal can update data in BDO without starting an administrative procedure on the issuance of a decision to remove from the register (…) ”.

As stated in the draft notes, the cost of disposing of abandoned waste, which amounts to several tens of millions of zlotys, is a painful problem for the state budget and local authorities. Therefore, if the perpetrator is convicted of an intentional crime against the environment, the court will have to order him an exemption of 10,000 PLN. PLN to PLN 10 million. If the violation was committed unintentionally, the deductible is optionally charged.

The motivation stated that the funds would go to the National Fund for the Environment and Water Management. They will not only be used to eliminate the effects of criminal activities, but will also be used in various environmental programs aimed, among other things, at improving air and water quality in Poland.

The project offers, among other things, increasing the penalty for contamination of water, air or the earth’s surface with a substance or ionizing radiation. In that case, there is a prison sentence of 6 months to 8 years.

According to the draft, higher fines will apply, among other things, for: for illegal storage, disposal, processing, recovery, neutralization and transport of waste that can endanger the life or health of people or a reduction in the quality of water, air, land area or cause destruction in the plant or animal world. It carries a prison sentence of one to ten years. It has been added that the fine for importing or transporting hazardous waste from abroad without the required notification or permit or in violation of the conditions thereof will also be increased. It carries a prison sentence of 2 to 12 years.

The draft also increases the minimum and maximum fines for litter in public places. In addition, the maximum fine for removing vegetation by burning farmland, railway yards, roadsides, reeds or rushes is increased to PLN 30,000. zloty.

The liability condition of collective bodies (eg companies) is abolished with regard to the previous and valid conviction of a natural person for an offense against the environment. Currently, this crime must first be legally sentenced to a natural person (for example, the director of the company), so that the company itself is also responsible for the destruction of the environment.

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