Outgoing Environment Minister Popov reports on achievements over the past nine months

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Outgoing Environment and Water Minister Julian Popov briefed reporters on Friday on his activities over the past nine months. He pointed out that two criminal cases against Bulgaria in the field of environmental protection have already been concluded.

Mr. Popov reported that the European Commission’s recognition of the methodology adopted for Dune was a major achievement. He called for close monitoring of compliance with the methodology, as the dunes are constantly exposed to criminal activity. “We have made progress in maintaining our national parks, ending many permits for vehicles to drive in our national parks and reaching an agreement to reduce the number of cattle in our parks,” he said.

Mr. Popov also reported on the progress of the working group’s work proposing legal reforms to limit unpleasant odors from industrial facilities. He said the group had prepared a report which was then submitted to MPs. He added that there are no European directives or regulations regarding odors and that Bulgaria needs to devise a comprehensive approach.

On Friday, Popov is scheduled to sign 11 orders related to protected areas, with seven remaining. A total of 32 people are expected to sign the petition during his term. The outgoing Minister also noted that the Ministry had been able to achieve an environmentally friendly approach in the construction of highways outside the Struma River Valley.

Regarding the introduction of the state storage system, Popov said that the goal is to have it in place by 2026. He indicated that a study was being commissioned to provide clarity to investors on the amount of waste generated at various locations. The study will last for 3 months. The entire financial burden falls on the company. “The ministry will support this process. We also need to create a regulatory environment in which to negotiate with operators and companies,” he added.

Mr. Popov also commented on the potential for gold mining near Bankiya, Bozlyshte, Breznik, Slivnica and Dragoman. Popov said mining would be permitted if it complied with environmental standards, and assured that citizens and organizations would report it to the Ministry of Environment and Water or local authorities and an inspection would be carried out.

“We want to significantly change the annual monitoring of the Black Sea,” he added, noting that a separate department for the Black Sea had been created within the ministry due to the need for better management.

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