On Friday, the Tirana Administrative Court dismissed as unfounded the lawsuit brought by the developer of Kalivaç HPP, the Turkish-Albanian consortium Ayen-Alb, against the Albanian ministry of tourism and the environment.
The lawsuit challenged the negative environmental statement of the Albanian Ministry of Tourism and Environment, a statement that rejected the impact of the Ayen-Alb environmental assessment, thereby stopping construction of the dam indefinitely.
The news was first announced by activist Ulrich Eichelmann, CEO of Riverwatch, on Twitter.
Rupture: the Albanian court rejected the trial of the Turkish investor of the dam! This means that the Kalivac dam project is dead and Vjosa is safe! #VjosaNationalParkNow
– Ulrich Eichelmann (@UlrichEichelman) May 28, 2021
EcoAlbania, an environmental NGO that had filed an amicus brief in support of the ministry’s decision, confirmed the news with a press release.
In October 2017, the Ministry of Energy awarded the Turkish company Ayen Enerji, in cooperation with the Albanian company Fusha, the contract for the construction of the Kalivaç hydropower plant on the Vjosa river.
In September 2020, however, the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, in collaboration with the National Environmental Agency of Albania (AKM), rejected the environmental impact assessment of Ayen and issued a negative environmental statement, essentially preventing Ayen-Alb from continuing construction of the hydropower plant. .
Ayen-Alb filed a lawsuit against the ministry in February 2021 in the Tirana Administrative Court, asking that the negative statement be declared null and void.
The construction of the Kalivaç dam has been controversial, with local residents and national and international NGOs protesting the project. Several organizations and 39 community members supported the defense case of the Ministry of Tourism and Environment through opinions and expert testimonies.
Olsi Nika, biologist for EcoAlbania, welcomes the news, saying that the court ruling “represents another message to the [Albanian] government that it must renounce once and for all the construction of hydroelectric power stations and declare the Vjosa valley a national park as soon as possible.
Local and foreign activists, as well as celebrities such as Leonardo di Caprio have spoken out in favor of transforming the river into a national park, in order to protect it from destructive and exploitative developments.