Illegal road threat to Romanian National Park
Construction of the illegal 66A road has reached the core area of Domogled National Park in the Carpathians threatening a key area of old growth forest, designated as an Intact Forest Landscape.
Approval by the Romanian National Environmental Protection Agency has not been granted due to the reported deficiencies in the environmental impact assessment, including lack of review of the impact of the road itself.
Representatives from local organizations organized a protest camp at the construction site this summer and there is a growing movement against the road, with thousands signing an online petition and liaising through Facebook.
The second section of the road, from Campu lui Neag to Campusel in Hunedoara county, has already been built – without approval of the Environment Protection Agency or the Retezat National Park administration.
It is the third phase, also illegal, which now threatens the core area of Domogled’s ancient forests.
Protesters regard this issue as symptomatic of a wider disregard for safeguarding supposedly protected areas, particularly such a key example of wilderness heritage with its rich biodiversity. On this latter point alone, the Environmental Impact Assessment for the road construction appears to significantly under-report the range of species present.
Local NGOs commissioned a biodiversity counter-study and asked the National Environment Protection Agency not to approve the project.
„The preliminary results of the counter-study already show that the biodiversity here is much higher than stated in the beneficiary’s study”, said Luminiţa Tănasie, WWF Programme Director in Romania. “For example, until now we have registered 109 distinct points where large and medium mammals cross the road. The assessment commissioned by the beneficiary discovered only one bear trace. We found 26 bat species, whereas the beneficiary said that there are no bats in the area. We found 34 breeding places for reptiles and amphibians, as opposed to only two in the beneficiary’s assessment. The differences are significant and they cannot be ignored by the National Environment Protection Agency”.
”But above all to us this road is symbolic of the disregard for protected areas in Romania. The European Commission has already instigated several penalty procedures against the country for not complying with the law when it comes to nature protection”, Tănasie added.
For further information, see this WWF article (external link): Romanian authorities ignore NGO invitation to discuss the 66A road