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Content updated: 27-04-2016 11:27

The provisions of the Subsurface Law related to the possibility of leaving, in the subsurface, the waste as a result of hydraulic fracturing ruled not in conflict with the Constitution


By its ruling adopted today, the Constitutional Court recognised that the provisions of Paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article 11 of the Subsurface Law are not in conflict with the Constitution insofar as they provide that the waste resulting from subsurface exploration and/or the exploitation of subsurface resources by means of hydraulic fracturing may be left in artificial subsurface voids under procedure established by the Government or an institution authorised by it.

In its ruling, the Constitutional Court has noted that the state is under constitutional obligation to ensure the protection and rational use of the subsurface as a national valuable of general importance which belongs to the state by right of exclusive ownership. It was emphasised in the ruling that the legislature, while pursuing the state economic policy together with the policy of using the subsurface, must regulate the economic and other activity (where such activity might pose a threat to the environment or human health) related, under the Constitution, to using the subsurface in a manner that different constitutional values (freedom of individual economic activity and economic initiative, freedom of fair competition, the protection of consumers’ interests, the protection of human health and the environment) would be coordinated and the economic interests of the state, inter alia, the security and reliability of the energy system, would be ensured. The Constitutional Court noted that, under the Constitution, the legal regulation of economic activity is also possible, which is established by the legislature and is designed for ensuring the general welfare of the nation as well as related to using the subsurface, whereby it is allowed to apply the ways (technologies) of exploring the subsurface and mining its resources, where such ways (technologies) might pose a threat to the environment or human health. In addition, the Constitutional Court noted that it is also necessary to establish effective measures that could create preconditions for a proper protection of the environment or human health, and that it is not allowed to carry out any such economic activity by which inevitable harm could be inflicted on the environment or human health.