1. Estonian government slashes fees for dirty oil shale extraction
The Estonian government decided to temporarily cut extraction charges for oil shale mining, leading to elevated combustion of the dirtiest of fossil fuels.
Extraction and burning of oil shale for electricity generation is environmentally disastrous. As of July 2016 the Estonian government decided to temporarily cut environmental and resource extraction charges in oil shale mining to 0.275 euros per ton, whereas previously the oil shale extraction charge was 1.58 Euro per ton of oil shale. The temporary cut is valid until the beginning of 2018. The reduction was retroactive, the financial effect of the measure for the sector will be approximately 40 million Euros annually. Eesti Energia, a state owned utility, which owns the majority of dirty oil shale based power plants, announced over 50% increased output from June to September 2016, owing to the reduced environmental fees. Oil shale power plants were working close to their maximum capacity, which is exceptional even during cold winter days.

Inevitably, the industry has made a serious impact on the environment, from large-scale waste to monumental greenhouse gas emissions. The combustion of oil shale releases more CO2 into the atmosphere than any other primary fuel. Its activities lower groundwater levels, alter water circulation, and spoil water quality. Much to the detriment of the local environment. Meanwhile, the long-term solution of renewable energy cannot compete with subsidised oil-shale based electricity in the market.
Nominated by
Estonian Greens
Estonian Renewable Energy Association
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