Do something for Poland
Rev. Msgr Ireneusz Skubis talks to Fr Tadeusz Rydzyk, Director of Radio Maryja and chairman of the Lux Veritatis Foundation, about the project of geothermal drilling.
Rev. Msgr Ireneusz Skubis: – The Lux Veritatis Foundation decided to begin geothermal drilling. How did you get interested in this problem?
Fr Tadeusz Rydzyk: – For several years we had contacts with professors who dealt with earthy thermal waters in Poland. It was 50 years ago that the late Prof. Julian Sokolowski investigated this problem. He used to come to us. And there are other scientists – Prof. Ryszard Kozlowski and Prof. Jacek Zimny. They turned our attention to these matters. I remember eating breakfast with Prof. Sokolowski on Sunday after the night programmes on Radio Maryja seven years ago, before going to Warsaw and Krakow. Prof. Sokolowski told me, ‘Let us do it here, in Torun, at the Higher School of Social and Media Culture. We had just bought the plot to build our school on. Prof. Sokolowski had schemes showing the ‘floor’ of the earth, the interior of the earth. He could not speak about it aloud for 52 years. It often happened that when something was discovered it was sealed, filled with concrete, and this procedure was continued. He explained how important drilling was, saying, ‘I would like very much do it for Poland! Let us make a model project here. And the whole area will be a green ecological island. There will be no coal and oil and even gas.’ He presented such perspectives. So I said, ‘Gentlemen, do it if it is something good!’ And they prepared the whole project, which we submitted to the Ministry later.
– So the proposals and plans came from experts...
– From the Krakow scientists who have dealt with energy resources for years. Naturally, under the supervision of Prof. Julian Sokolowski.
– How have these plans been made concrete?
– We submitted our projects to the National Fund for Environmental Protection, which is subordinated to the Ministry of Environmental Protection. In April 2006, a concession was granted to us and in June 2007 we signed an agreement, and in November 2007 we signed an annex to this agreement. When we were negotiating with the companies that could realise our project I learnt that such undertakings were not successful in Poland. Why have such projects been successful, for example in the United States, Germany, Austria, Japan and other countries and they will not come off in Poland and they will not be profitable as we have been constantly told? The interesting thing is that other companies come to Poland and buy some factory, which we regard as unprofitable, and they succeed. Where is the core of the problem? Scientists and specialists have found out that the problem is that improper pipes are used when the resources are found. The pipes get deteriorated very quickly because geothermal waters have different levels of salinity, they are mineralised, etc. I am asking, ‘Why has this not been a problem in other places?’ It turns out that they use fibreglass pipes. We decided to see them. And we began sending letters and e-mails, which took long time to be delivered and sometimes were not delivered at all. I leant that one could buy such pipes but it turned out that you had to wait for them for a long time. They are produced, e.g. in America. At some moment I said to Fr Jan Krol, ‘The correspondence takes more time than travelling there. Would you like to go to America to see the pipes yourself? And to go to the factories where these pipes are produced… Time is precious and we cannot afford paying for mistakes.’ And Fr Krol visited at least two centres; he saw things himself and we were even more convinced that we should follow that direction. Our financial advisor and a specialist in geothermal projects went with Fr Krol. We decided, considering economical reasons, to install fibreglass pipes in these places where they could be exposed to oxygen and corrosion. We wrote to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, to the National Fund for Environmental Protection, that our agreement should be changed and an annex should be made. The pipes should be such and such and they are much more expensive. And the whole affair has began: they say we made the costs much higher, that in other places they make it cheaper, that it will not be profitable because all things will go wrong and they have given examples for that in Poland. I repeated over and over again that in Poland it did not come off but Germany succeeded, that Japan used such pipes as early as in 1970 and they have been all right so far, that we must learn from better examples.
– What agreements did you sign and with whom?
– The first agreement was signed with the National Fund for Environmental Protection, then an annex was added and the whole noise in the media began…
– What does the matter of the costs of the investment look like?
– The first project was to cost 15 million zloty, and then the sum was raised to 28 million zloty. The Office for Environmental Protection has funds for ecology, which amounts to over 10 billion zloty at present. Our drilling is so expensive since it is an experimental-research project and researches cost very much. The drilling has already begun; samples are taken every 5 metres and examined. The drilling would have been cheaper if there had been no research. However, we received a concession for experimental-research works. The problem began with the new government. In January 2008, the Minister of Environmental Protection, being in contact with the National Fund for Environmental Protection, affirmed us that all things were OK, the agreement had no legal infringements and such drilling would be realised. In May, the Fund terminated the agreement unilaterally. And we faced a serious problem. What to do? We have the concession; we already signed a contract with a firm that started drilling. We have obligations. We have invested several million zloty; the works have begun and all people know that we are realising the project – and now, out of sudden, are we to withdraw? The concession was granted for two years. If we do not do anything within this period the concession will be lost. And all things tell us that this is for the good of the nation… I say, ‘We are going to Jasna Gora. We will entrust this matter to the Mother of God. We came there with the Radio Maryja Family. We came to the Queen, to the Mother of God, who is our and my Mother. I arrived at Jasna Gora and said, ‘Mother, help! What am I to do? We cannot give up; we have invested too much; the risk of losing something great for Poland is too high.’ And we appealed to people, stressing that we entrusted the matter to Lord God and the Most Blessed Mother. Radio Maryja is also a work of the nation; without people, without collaboration, without prayer, without help, without kindliness it would not exist. Like with other works. This is the way in the Church… People must know about this. Moreover, I see it as a realisation of the social teaching of the Church. We have two most important commandments: love your God and love your neighbour. Love of your neighbour is nothing else but realising the social teaching of the Church. Therefore, we must make people realise: we have resources, we have energy, and we have a possibility to be self-sufficient! Poland is very rich but we should only take these riches, which God has given us, into our hands. We shall see. Perhaps we will succeed. Of course, all things are not certain since the drillings are only single points. However, I trust Lord God and scientists.
– Father Director, you said on Television Trwam that it would be a monument to the solidarity of the Polish nation. What did you mean?
– To tell you the truth, every sanctuary is a monument to the solidarity between people and the Church, the teaching of Christ, a sign of identifying with him. I can see every action on Radio Maryja in this way: it is a work of the solidarity of the nation, a big part of the nation. Similarly, the recent work is a living monument to solidarity in a difficult situation we have faced. And what is solidarity? ‘There is no solidarity without love’, said John Paul II and repeated after St Paul, ‘Bear one another's burdens’ (cf. Galatians 6:2). I have the impression that the situation got complicated for political reasons. When the government was changed, the aversion towards Radio Maryja and to our school intensified. Earlier we saw what the attitude of some group towards us was, I mean, during the election or even earlier. Calling our listeners ‘mohair berets’, showing disrespect for them, is not actually a form of aversion; it is something more. One can see the tendency to tell us that Poles cannot succeed, that they are hopeless. Sowing crops is unprofitable, and growing something is not profitable and neither is doing something. And our shipyards, mines, agriculture are being destroyed… Running hospitals is unprofitable, so you should give them away, privatise them. Poles must leave Poland and look for jobs somewhere else. And we can see the results: broken families, ruined people… Poles cannot succeed at anything. The Church cannot succeed and a priest cannot succeed. But other people go round all these riches in Poland. They sell them in such a way that the contracts have marks of stealing someone’s possessions. And that’s why we say, ‘No! We are not losers and our country is a wealthy country. One should only take over and use well this richness for the benefit of us all.