Published On: Wed, May 2nd, 2018

Court of Justice: “Oil refinery Isla does not have to pay penalty!”

Oil refineryWILLEMSTAD - On Wednesday, May 2, 2018, the Court of First Instance found in summary proceedings that the oil refinery Isla does not owe a penalty payment due to the exceedance of the standard for the emission of sulfur dioxide in 2014. A claim was imposed by the Humanitarian Care Foundation and the Clean Environment Foundation in Curaçao.

In 2010, the Court of Justice in an interlocutory injunction prohibited Isla from contributing more than 80 μg / m3 (microgram per cubic meter) downstream to the concentration of sulfur dioxide at ground level as an annual average. The Court then imposed a penalty payment of 75 million guilders per year if Isla exceeded that standard. The Court added at the time that Isla's contribution to the emission of sulfur dioxide must be calculated in the manner in which the researchers had calculated it earlier (in 2008 and 2009).

In March of this year, the aforementioned foundations placed a claim, because they believed that Isla had exceeded the norm for the year 2014 and therefore owed the penalty payment. Isla did not agree with this and applied for interlocutory proceedings for the removal of the claim.

The Court of First Instance now ruled that for the answer to the question of whether Isla owes the penalty payment, Isla's contribution to emission must be carried out in exactly the same way as in the earlier reports from 2008 and 2009. That is to say, this must also be measured on the same location. This follows from the judgment in 2010. The Court is bound by these conditions. At that specific location, a lower emission was measured in 2014 than the standard of 80 μg / m3. That is why Isla does not owe the penalty payment.

The Court of First Instance pointed out that in order to pay or not pay the penalty payment strict conditions have been set in the 2010 ruling, but that the prohibition itself has been defined: at no place downwind can Isla contribute more than 80 μg / m3. Research has shown that in 2014 at some other locations downwind was measured above that standard. This is sufficient reason for the General Court to extend the prohibition until 2019.

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