A dispute over the coal industry pits Poland against its neighbors


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But this will not solve a bigger problem. Many in Poland fear that the sudden drop in coal will push the country into the position of Germany, which is highly dependent on natural gas imports from Russia.

Polish Prime Minister Matthews Murawiecki said this month that the government would not allow the Bogatinnia mine to be closed because “this could jeopardize energy security in Poland.”

A more pressing concern, however, is the domestic political risk to move away from coal quickly.

On a visit to Bogatania ahead of Poland’s election to the presidency last year, the incumbent, Andrzej Duda, said that the coal miners had rendered a “wonderful service” to Poland and that they would not be abandoned. The townspeople supported him in the elections, which helped him win.

Andrzej Grzegorowski, a union leader at the power plant adjacent to the Turow Mine, said he voted for Mr. Duda because he “raised high hopes for the future of coal.” He added that whether he would vote for Mr. Doda’s ruling Law and Justice Party again, would depend on whether he kept the mine open.

Fearing antagonizing miners, a shrinking but well-organized and bustling constituency, Polish politicians have long struggled to balance the green energy demands emanating from Brussels and voters’ demands for jobs.

“Everyone in my family has always been attached to the mine here,” said Bogomic Teskiewicz, a union leader at the Toro mine. His two brothers, sister-in-law, and sister all work for Polish Energy Group, or PGE, the state-owned company that runs the mine and the adjacent power plant. His only son, who found work in a green energy company in another town, is not dependent on the mine for his livelihood.


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