The National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management is giving the controversial priest Tadeusz Rydzyk another 15 mln zloty for a geothermal-energy project for the university he founded.
The decision Nov. 6 came just three days before the Civic Platform Party formed a government to replace the outgoing Law and Justice-led government. During Law and Justice’s two-year rule, the party gave a number of grants to Father Rydzyk, whose support was crucial to its election victory in 2005. Civic Platform Party officials promise to cast a very critical eye at any other government grants the priest seeks. Father Rydzyk asked for the additional money to buy fiberglass pipes rather than the originally planned steel ones.
Fiberglass pipes are said to convey hot water more efficiently and are lighter and easier to install than steel ones.
The money will go to the Lux Veritatis Foundation, which Father Rydzyk founded and directs.
The government awarded it first geothermal grant to the priest ? 12 mln zloty – in February of this year. The project involves finding a geothermal source near Torun that can be used both for energy and for creating healing spas.
“The application for the additional money was accepted because there is no way the money can be misappropriated or spent in the wrong way,” said Christopher Masiuk, who oversees grants from the national fund that go to non-governmental organizations.
Father Rydzyk said on his radio station, Radio Maryja, that the geothermal water will be used to heat his College of Social and Media Studies in Torun, which he established in 2001. The man who is heading the project, Professor Ryszard Kozlowski of the Krakow University of Technology, told the daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza that the geothermal water will also be used to create electricity and will be piped into swimming pools on the campus.
“The electrical energy – even though it will be only 2 megawatts – will be worth 7 mln zloty” a year, he said. As for the water’s use in swimming pools, it contains minerals so it will have healing properties, he said.
Many Poles are upset about the grant because Radio Maryja, which Father Rydzyk directs, regularly espouses views that are anti-secular, anti-homosexual, anti-prostitution, anti-Germany and anti-Russia. It also excoriates former Communists. Father Rydzyk’s other media properties include the daily newspaper Nasz Dziennik, established in 1998, and the cable channel Trwam Television, established in 2003.
The government’s anti-corruption agency will keep a close eye on the geothermal-energy grant, said Civic Platform spokeswoman Julia Pitera. If there is any violation of the law, the grant will be terminated “and the case will be in the public prosecutor’s office,” she said.