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5 injured in spat over wind farm in Romania

Mon, 07/26/2010 - 12:13pm
The Associated Press

A clash between guards at a Czech wind farm project and local residents opposing the building of the euro1.1 billion (US$1.42 billion) plant left five people injured by rubber bullets in southeastern Romania Monday, authorities said.

Police chief Adrian Ropotan said the mayor of Cogealac village, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) east of Bucharest, and dozens of local residents headed to the construction site to hand a fine to Czech power company CEZ for violating village planning permission.

Guards on the premises said they fired rubber bullets in defense, the police chief said. Four people suffered injuries leg injuries and one was hit in the stomach.

Mayor Cati Hristu said he sued CEZ for not having planning permission from village authorities. He claimed Spanish power company Iberdrola had been given permission instead.

Under Romanian law, wind farms can be built with permission from county authorities. Village permission is not required if the farm is not being constructed in a built-up area.

The Spanish renewable energy company Iberdrola opened an office in Bucharest in 2009 and said it was building a wind farm in Cogealac.

Local government representative Claudiu Palaz said there were "personal" reasons for the clash and accused Hristu of blocking the investment.

Project manager Ondrej Safar told daily Adevarul that "there is no real reason for this project not to be finalized. ... We are fulfilling the legal and technical requirements."

According to the project plans, the wind farm will have 240 wind turbines in two villages in Constanta county.

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