The Senate voted on Wednesday, February 21, a legislative proposal according to which public utility works can also be carried out in protected areas and virgin forest areas. Greenpeace warns that, under this project, deforestation will be allowed in virgin and quasi-virgin forests.
The proposal is aimed at amending and completing the law on the community services of public utilities.
“Although no impact or feasibility studies has been carried out, under the pretext of expanding, improving and renovating public utility services, this legislative proposal will allow the definitive removal of any forest from the National Forest Fund, even of those from the national and natural parks of Romania,” reads a press release from Greenpeace Romania.
“Moreover, the project will allow deforestation to be made in the heart of virgin and quasi-virgin forests, as well as in the potential ones, which means that they will no longer meet the criteria for inclusion in the National Catalog of Virgin of Quasi-Virgin Forests and will lose their status of areas with full protection.”
The legislative proposal comes just two years after the legislative framework that protects the most valuable forests of Romania appeared, at the insistence of environmental NGOs.
“These days we’ve learned that, in all these years, the development of infrastructure has been blocked by the existence of virgin forests - we are talking about 2% of Romania's entire forested area, we are talking about the oldest and most valuable forests of Romania and of Europe. We oppose this legislative proposal and we ask the Parliament to take out the article that allows deforestation in virgin and quasi-forest forests," said Greenpeace Romania representatives.
The Chamber of Deputies also needs to vote on this project.
Last November, Greenpeace Romania announced it has identified almost 300,000 hectares of potential virgin forests in Romania. It has also drawn up a map of these forests in collaboration with the Eberswalde University in Germany and Al. I. Cuza University in Iasi. Brasov county has the largest area with potential virgin forests, namely 49,601 hectares, followed by Caras Severin county with 39,513 hectares, and Arges county with 38,918 hectares.
Irina Marica, email@example.com