Two former environment ministers, László Miklós of the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) and Jaroslav Izák of the Slovak National Party (SNS), have been charged with the crime of posing a threat to the environment. Police in Poprad laid the charges based on a motion filed by the prosecutor, who accuses them of not allowing the logging of wood in the Kôprová and Tichá valleys in the High Tatras, the Sme daily reported on August 22.
After a huge windstorm in 2004 felled thousands of trees, the uncleared remains became infested with bark beetle, a parasite, but the ministers rejected the option of logging the fallen wood, instead choosing to allow the natural process of decomposition and forest restoration to take its course.
“We will comment [on the information] on Thursday,” said a spokesperson for the Office of the General Prosecutor, Vladimíra Gedrová, as quoted by Sme.
Juraj Lukáč from the environmental group Vlk (Wolf) said the charges were absurd, explaining that nature is able to handle such situations without human intervention.
“Nature works on different principles than the wood industry; all biological elements in such an area are equal, including the trees and the bark beetle,” he told Sme.
He also criticised an expert opinion which estimated that the damage caused by bark beetle at €10 million and ecological damage at €3 million, calling it “scientific nonsense”.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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