On Wednesday, February 13th, Slovenian Minister of the Environment Jure Leben presented a draft regulation to stop the eight planned hydropower projects along the Slovenian stretch of the Mur river. According to this regulation, all concessions for the Mur projects, held by the Slovenian power company "Draukraftwerke Maribor", will be withdrawn. This brings the Minister considerably closer to his promise to protect the free-flowing Mur for future generations. In order for the draft regulation to be legally valid, it now needs approval by the Slovenian Government.
"We welcome the decision of the Slovenian Minister for the Environment and call on Balkan decision-makers to follow his lead. The regulation is an important step towards the protection of the Blue Heart of Europe" says Ulrich Eichelmann of Riverwatch.
According to a press release by the WWF, "the decision against the power plants is being justified with the irreversible negative environmental impacts and the threat to the drinking water supply of 46,000 residents along the Mur. Furthermore, it is emphasized that the hydropower plants and the associated damage to the river system would undermine the Biosphere Reserve Mur in Slovenia, which was just solemnly opened in January 2019, as well as jeopardizing the protection and sustainable development of the entire Mur region.” (Read the full WWF press release about this joyful news)