Press release: Climate youth of Estonia took the state-funded fossil fuel plant to court again 

Fridays For Future Estonia (MTÜ Loodusvõlu)
Press release

Fridays for Future Estonia, a youth environmental movement, has turned to court again to stop the operation of a 380-million euro state-owned fossil fuel plant. 

Last month, the Estonian Environmental Board issued an integrated permit for the state-owned energy company Enefit Power’s new shale oil plant, allowing it to operate until 2035. The plant will increase Estonia’s current greenhouse gas emissions by about 6%.

On the 25th of June, Fridays for Future Estonia filed two complaints to challenge the permit: One brought forward by the legal body representing the youth – MTÜ Loodusvõlu, and the other by a young activist within the movement – Elo-Lee Maran.

“The erratic weather that hit Estonia this spring and the extreme weather conditions that are gripping the world highlight the clear need to alleviate the climate crisis. To do this, we must act decisively now and keep fossil fuels in the ground. Issuing an integrated permit for a plant that produces shale oil, a fossil fuel even dirtier than coal is an irresponsible step in the wrong direction,” said Kertu Birgit Anton, an activist in Fridays for Future Estonia.

For the first time in Estonia, an individual has also taken legal action on climate grounds, arguing that exacerbating climate change threatens human rights and the rights of children. “The state has a duty to put the best interests of children first in all decisions affecting them, including environmental decisions. When granting the integrated permit, the Environmental Board has not paid any attention to the way in which the oil plant, by exacerbating climate change, puts children and young people in particular at risk. Among other things, the additional emissions from the oil plant could force the state to impose excessive restrictions on people’s fundamental freedoms in the future in order to curb climate change,” said Elo-Lee Maran, a young activist from Fridays For Future Estonia who personally lodged the complaint.

Background Information: In March 2020, the government allocated 125 million euros to public limited energy company Eesti Energia (Enefit Power`s parent company) to construct the Enefit280-2 shale oil plant. In the same spring, the youth environmental movement Fridays for Future Estonia (MTÜ Loodusvõlu) filed a lawsuit in the Tartu Administrative Court to revoke the construction permit issued for the plant. In October 2023, the Supreme Court upheld the youth’s appeal and annulled the construction permit. Two months later, the municipality of Narva-Jõesuu issued a new construction permit for the plant and its construction is now nearly complete.

The youth are represented by the Estonian Environmental Law Center’s legal experts, Kärt Vaarmari and Triin Jäädmaa, and by Tambet Laasik, an attorney at law at Kõrgesaar and Laasik law firm.

For more information on the oil plant cases: 

Kertu Birgit Anton
Fridays For Future Estonia activist
+372 59007020

Robert Pappel
Fridays For Future Estonia activist
+372 56687847