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Skavica Hydropower Plant/ Acceptance of the complaint by the Constitutional Court restores hope to environmentalists
A joint press statement of the CEE Bankwatch network, the environmental organization EuroNatur, the Association for the Protection of Black Drin, and the Group of Rural Activists of Dibra stated that the Constitutional Court in Albania will reconsider the law on the construction of the Skavica hydropower plant by the American contractor Bechtel .
"We very much hope that this law will be annulled, that Skavica will not happen and that this case will serve as a lesson and motivation for all similar and other cases that we see every day", Majlinda Hoxha, coordinator of the Group, told BIRN of Rural Activists of Dibra.
In June 2021, the Albanian Electric Corporation (KESH) and the American company Bechtel signed an agreement for the start of the Skavica hydropower plant works on the Drin River with accelerated access.
In the press statement of the environmentalists, it is written that the Bechtel contract is controversial and clearly without a tendering procedure.
"By bypassing open procurement and competition, this deal raises suspicions about possible corruption and doubts about the project's value for money. It also ignores environmental impact assessment," says Andrey Larev, biodiversity activist at the CCE Bankwatch network.
The complaint filed by the Albanian Helsinki Committee and the Association for the Protection of Black Drin with the support of EuroNatur and the CCE Bankwatch network claims the violation of the principles of legal equality and economic freedom in the awarding of public contracts.
In 2021, representatives of the Bechtel company stated that the Skavica dam will serve as a greater protection against annual floods.
"Skavica will increase the production of the cascade and add safety and environmental benefits. The combination of existing projects currently results in the largest energy production in the Balkans, with a combined output reaching up to 1,350 MW," Andrew Patterson, project development manager at Bechtel, said two years ago after the signing. of the agreement with Albania.
Hoxha ngre alarmin e rrezikut jo vetëm për biodiversitetin, por edhe për komunitetin e banorëve të zonës.
Ajo shtoi se janë 41 fshtatra dhe më shumë se 2500 shtëpi në bashkinë e Dibrës që kërcënohen nga ky projekt, dhe që e kanë mirëpritur përgjigjen e gjykatës.
“Banorët janë më shpresëplotë tashmë dhe e kanë pritur shumë pozitivisht pranimin e Gjykatës Kushtetuese”, tha Hoxha, duke theksuar se impaktet sociale të Skavicës mund të rezultojnë më të dëmshmet e të gjitha digave në Europë deri më sot.
Sipas organizatave mjedisore, pranimi i ankesës nga Gjykata Kushtetuese për gjykim në seancë publike plenare është një arritje e rëndësishme, pasi përbën një ndër çështjet e rralla të ankesave të pranuara nga Organizatat e Shoqërisë Civile.
"Until now, there is no date determined by the court, but the fact that we have passed the first stage has given us a lot of hope that our right will be respected", concluded Hoxha. Reporter.al