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Poll: Most Czechs against lifting of coal mining limits

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Prague, Sept 10 (CTK) – Seventy percent of Czechs are against towns being pulled down in north Bohemia over brown coal mining, according to a public opinion poll released by the Ipsos agency Thursday and focusing on the valid coal mining limits that are a point of controversy on the Czech scene.

Almost 14 percent of the respondents said they are for towns to be destroyed for the sake of coal mining, showed the poll initiated by Greenpeace.

More than a half of those polled rejected the possibility of lifting the limits, which would enable the expropriation of houses and land for the sake of mining.

Over 3,000 people have joined a petition promising to help peacefully protect the houses of the inhabitants of Horni Jiretin and Cernice, the two most endangered towns, if the limits were lifted by the state.

The organisers are to submit the petition to Finance Minister Andrej Babis who is visiting the mining area together with Environment Minister Richard Brabec (both ANO) Thursday to discuss the mining limits with local towns’ mayors.

Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mladek (Social Democrats, CSSD) previously proposed that the decision on lifting the limits in selected areas be postponed until 2020. The mining companies, as well as local residents and politicians have criticised his proposal for leaving them in uncertainty.

Mladek recommends that in one area, around the Bilina mine, the limits be lifted this year.

The cabinet is to discuss the issue in October.

Over a half of the Ipsos poll’s 1000 respondents said they want the mining limits to be completely preserved.

People’s opinions in this respect have not changed since the previous similar poll conducted last year, the Greenpeace campaign’s head Jan Rovensky told journalists.

Sixteen percent of those polled said the limits should be preserved in places where they protect towns, and 11 percent want their preservation in places where they protect nature.

Almost 30 percent said the expropriation of land should be resumed but should not apply to inhabited areas.

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