Poland Vows to Keep Logging Ancient Forest Despite EU Court Ruling
Poland said on Monday it would press on with logging the country's primeval Bialowieza forest in defiance of a ruling by the European Union's top court, saying it needed to cut down trees to defeat insect pests, according to Straitstimes.com
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ordered Poland last week to immediately stop large-scale logging in the ancient forest, one of many cases that has pitted the nationalist, eurosceptic government in Warsaw against the bloc.
But Poland said it would keep logging in the forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site which straddles the border between Poland and Belarus.
"We are acting in line with the EU laws," Environment Minister Jan Szyszko told a news conference on Monday.
He argues that "protective measures" in Bialowieza are needed to stop the biggest beetle outbreak in decades.
Szyszko brought a jar of Bialowieza beetles to the news conference, saying they were enough to kill a thousand trees.
But non-government organisations including Greenpeace and Wild Poland Foundation say the vast majority of trees felled so far were unaffected by the beetles.
They also say 2017 timber targets set for all three administrative areas of Bialowieza have already been significantly exceeded.
NGOs also say that while the logging continues, the foresters and guards from the agency that oversees state-run forests have become more aggressive towards protesters.