Tuesday, 22 May 2018

HN: Environment minister biggest surprise of Czech government

3 March 2017

Prague, March 2 (CTK) - Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO), who has substantially helped push through a national parks bill which puts environmental and economic interests in harmony, is perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the Czech coalition government, Petr Honzejk writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN) yesterday.
The bill was passed by the Chamber of Deputies in its original version, without the changes proposed by the Senate, which critics say would promote business at the cost of nature protection. President Milos Zeman already said he will veto the bill, which will therefore return to the Chamber of Deputies.
Honzejk writes that the old propaganda slogan of environmental activists "What is environment-friendly, is also economic" does not always function that simply, but in the case of national parks it does.
He writes that nine million people annually visit the four national parks in the country - the Sumava National Park, south-west Bohemia, Krkonose (Giant Mountains), east Bohemia, Ceske Svycarsko (Czech Switzerland), north-west Bohemia, and Podyji (Thaya River Valley), south Moravia, which borders Thayatal in Austria - and they spend five billion crowns there according to qualified estimates.
It is simple. The relatively well preserved nature attracts visitors and they bring in money. However, if only trees were cut, concrete roads and downhill courses were built, the attractiveness of the territory would be probably gradually decreasing accompanied by corresponding economic consequences, Honzejk writes.
That is why it is good that the Chamber of Deputies passed an amendment to the law that guarantees that the national parks will remain national parks and that they will not gradually develop into their caricature, Honzejk writes.
He writes that if the Senate version massively supported by Zeman and his friend Zdenek Zbytek, who wants to bring whole divisions of Russian tourists to Sumava, won, the victorious roaring of motor engines felling trees would be heard.
Honzejk writes that when Brabec came to the Environment Ministry from the position of director of Finance Minister and ANO head Andrej Babis's chemical plant in Lovosice, north Bohemia, environmentalists feared that a liquidator is coming to the ministry. But reality is just opposite.
Honzejk writes that Brabec is probably the most distinct environment minister after Bedrich Moldan (1990-91) and Martin Bursik (2007-09).
He submits reasonable bills and is capable of supporting them with convincing arguments and of being resolute and unyielding if necessary, Honzejk writes.
($1=25.654 crowns)

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