By Mostafa Salah and Nihal Mounir
The Administrative Court has postponed the verdict in the case of the prohibition of the use of coal as an energy source to 24 May due to the absence of the Minster of Environment Laila Iskander, said Judge Hassouna Tawfiq, head of the investment department at the State Council.
The court has requested that Iskander send a written testimony within a week.
Sources from the minister’s office said Iskander has been under pressure from the cabinet to not attend the session, and instead submit a written testimony to avoid influencing public opinion.
The court asked the minister to testify in court last month about the feasibility of coal use from an environmental perspective. The case was filed by civil organisations.
Ahmed Al-Drouby, one of the coordinators of the Egyptians Against Coal campaign, said the state’s attorney requested the session’s postponement to give the government a chance to prepare defence papers.
Al-Drouby said the campaign will spend the next two weeks collecting signatures in hopes of preventing the government from adopting coal as a source of energy.
He called the cabinet’s decision to allow cement plants to import of coal before the Ministry of Environment has finalised environmental standards “a clear violation of the sovereignty of the state”.
In April, the cabinet approved the use of the highly pollutant fuel after a long debate within the government.
On 22 April, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade and Investment Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said the government is working on setting environmental standards and regulations for the industrial use of coal as an energy source.
On 30 April, a government committee was formed to follow up on the regulatory updates for coal usage in Egypt.
The committee will be responsible for setting up each ministry’s duties.
Translated from Al-Borsa News