Bulgarian MPs to Hold Hearing on Plans for Nature Park Construction
The Bulgarian Parliament voted Wednesday to hold a hearing of three ministers on the thorny subject of Strandzha Nature Park.
The three are the Minister of Investment Planning, Ivan Danov, the Minister of Regional Development, Desislava Terzieva, and the Minister of Environment and Waters, Iskra Mihaylova.
The hearing was proposed by the Secretary of the Parliamentary Group of the formerly-ruling centrist Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party (GERB), Alexander Nenkov, and will be held Friday morning.
Nenkov said the issue with construction in the Park is a recurring subject and needs to be addressed.
Petar Korumbashev from the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) saw in the debate an opportunity to accuse GERB of "eco gaffes," such as attempting to allow GMO, shale gas exploration and felling in the Vitosha mountain.
Tuesday evening about 1 000 Bulgarians braced the freezing cold and wind to stage a protest rally in the capital Sofia against plans to allow construction in preserved coastal areas of the Strandza mountain.
Similar demonstrations were held in the cities of Burgas, Plovdiv, Ruse and Sliven.
Fears of turning parts of the Park into concrete towns, as is now the rest of Black Sea coast, flared after a recent rule of a VAS 5-judge panel, endorsing the general development plan of Tsarevo municipality. This gives green light to construction on the southern coast from the village of Varvara all the way down to the Turkish border even though it is a protected area of Strandzha Park.
The 5-judge panel overruled the decision of a 3-member panel of VAS which declared the urban plan illegal after a 5-year-long court battle of Bulgarian environmentalists.
The case against the general development plan of Tsarevo was filed in 2008 by the Association of Parks in Bulgaria and endured a number of twists, ending in the recent VAS decision.
Organizers of the protest rallies say they will keep staging them to save Bulgaria's nature and warned the government they will approach the European Commission and European Parliament with a petition describing environmental abuses in the country.