Austrian environment ministry exit

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The dismantling of Austria's environment ministry, one of the first steps taken by the new OVP/FPO coalition government, "has resulted in a clear downgrading of renewable energy," according to Greenpeace Austria's Erwin Meyer. The environment ministry has been absorbed into the ministry for agriculture, forestry and water under Wilhelm Molterer who, according to Meyer, has yet to show the slightest interest in environmental protection. Meyer would have preferred to see a combined energy and environment ministry. But Stefan Hansch of the Austrian wind association is less pessimistic about the reshuffle. Although he admits that, "doing away with the environment ministry is not a positive signal," he points out that the ministry of agriculture has more political clout than possessed by the environmental ministry, and that the biomass association with a strong agricultural base has close contacts to the conservative government, a link which could have the spin-off effect of benefiting the wind industry.

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