Czech government sends draft agreement on Polish Turow mine to Warsaw
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PRAGUE (Reuters) -The Czech government has sent Warsaw a draft proposal on ending a dispute over an open-pit coal mine in Poland near the Czech border and plans to start negotiating on the matter this week, the Czech environment minister said on Monday.
Czechs living close to the Polish border and environmental groups say drinking water supplies have been affected by the Turow mine, operated by Poland's state-controlled PGE, and that they have suffered from noise and dust.
"We will start negotiations on Thursday and we are ready to negotiate in a tough way," Richard Brabec said on Twitter.
A spokesman for the Polish climate ministry confirmed it had received the proposal.
In February, the Czech government filed a lawsuit against fellow EU member Poland at the bloc's Court of Justice, saying the mine -- to which the Polish government has granted an extension of operations -- was damaging communities.
The court in May ordered Poland to halt mining at Turow until a final judgement. Warsaw rejected this order but said it would start talks with the Czechs that could lead to the lawsuit's withdrawal.
The proposal "includes conditions whose fulfilment we will want from Poland before and after the potential withdrawal of the lawsuit," Brabec said.
The Czech government wants Poland to commit to specific measures and to cover the costs of dealing with the negative impacts of the mine. It plans to seek 40 million to 50 million euros to replace water supply pipes in some districts.
(Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Additional reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko in Warsaw; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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