Press release from the Franciscan Institute for the Culture of Peace and the Franciscan Province of the Most Holy Redeemer
Split, (IKA) – The Franciscan Institute for the Culture of Peace and the Franciscan Province of the Most Holy Redeemer issued a statement on September 7 related to the planned construction of a gas power plant on the shore of the Peruća Reservoir, which we present in its entirety.
“In late 2016, the public became acquainted with the project Vis Viva, which, among other things, includes the planned construction of a ‘combined cogeneration natural gas power plant’ (KKPE) along the Peruća Reservoir on the Cetina River. From the beginning, the presentation of the project has been accompanied by stormy opposition from the local population. Disgruntled citizens organized and signed a petition, ‘Don’t Give Up, Cetina,’ which was sent to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, with over 15,000 signatures.
“In the meantime, we have noted complete silence from the academic community, relevant state institutions and officials, as well as the marginalization of this issue by the media. An exception is a group of individuals led by Mislav Cvitković, M.S. in Physics, whose voice is as scientifically pure as the waters of the Cetina River and powerfully prophetic, like a voice crying out in the wilderness.
“The Franciscan Institute for the Culture of Peace does not wish to commit the sin of silence and succumb to the criticism of the weakness of the opposition, as emphasized by Pope Francis in the Encyclical Letter Laudato si, On the Care for Our Common Home (LS, 54–59). On the basis of current insights into the aforementioned project and available criticism, we express our opposition to the construction of a gas power plant on the shore of the Peruća Reservoir for the following reasons:
“The Peruća Gas Power Plant violates the principles of the common good and intergenerational solidarity, which Pope Francis emphasizes in said encyclical (LS,156–162).
“The Peruća Gas Power Plant is an ecological hazard to the largest reservoir of potable water in the Republic of Croatia (Peruća Reservoir) and, thereby, is a direct threat to the existing four water pumping stations that supply 500,000 people. Water as an existential necessity cannot be under the direct authority or indirect influence of private concessionaires but must remain under public administration because ‘access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights’ (LS 30).
“The Peruća Gas Power Plant is strategically unacceptable as a source of energy and not cost effective economically. Since gas power plants are not cost effective, 30 such plants were closed in 2014 and 2015 in eight countries of the European Union, and another 20 are planned to be closed. The price of gas is constantly rising, while the price of electricity is falling. Croatian citizens are forced to pay a high price for electricity because the market model in Croatia unjustifiably includes such power plants. Gas is a fossil fuel and is not a renewable energy source. The Peruća Gas Power Plant is not a high-efficiency cogeneration power plant (i.e., a plant that simultaneously generates electricity and usable heat) because there is nowhere to harness the heat energy, which would heat up the lake and destroy the flora and fauna. Moreover, it is incomprehensible to discriminate against investment in solar power plants in Croatia, which have been shown around the world to be increasingly profitable, and their ecological cleanliness is indisputable. For these and other reasons, we also consider the construction of the Peruća Gas Power Plant anywhere else to be unacceptable.
“Therefore, we appeal to the Croatian Parliament, Government, ministries and the President of the Republic of Croatia to become thoroughly acquainted with the far-reaching detrimental consequences of the Peruća Gas Power Plant and review the existing legislation that opens the door to such projects, to the detriment of the common good. We also call for the development of an energy strategy as soon as possible. We urge them to take to take Pope Francis’ imperative to heart: ‘Politics must not be subject to the economy’ (LS 189).
“We appeal to the academic professional public and civil associations to join their voices with the cries of our sister, Mother Earth (cf. LS 2), to strengthen their opposition to the poisoning of the Cetina River and the imposition of an unbearable burden upon her children in the Cetina region, central Dalmatia and all of Croatia.
“We appeal to the general public to be aware that everything that happens to our ‘Sister Water’ (St. Francis of Assisi) will also happen to her children, to us and the generations after us. “Therefore, let us support, love and defend our natural resources and water, in Cetina and in every other waterway,” states the press release from the Franciscan Institute for the Culture of Peace and the Franciscan Province of the Most Holy Redeemer, signed by Prof. Dr. Ante Vučković.