The case was brought by two terminals, Zenith and Exolum, with offices in Amsterdam. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW) and the Dutch state were also charged.
Less severe irons
It’s all about the export of fuels to countries outside Europe. In low-wage countries, for example in West Africa, the requirements for petrol and diesel are less strict than in the EU. As a result, fuels produced in the Netherlands that go to countries outside the EU contain more harmful substances such as sulphur, benzene and manganese than is permitted for fuels sold here.
The ILT wants to put an end to this, because the larger quantities of the above substances are more harmful to the environment and health than is permitted in the Netherlands. In August 2022, the ILT obliged the industry to purify their fuels, via a so-called policy rule.
According to the two companies, such a policy rule should not be used to achieve an export ban. That would require a change in the law, the oil terminals argued. The judge disagrees.
The argument of the oil terminals that the ban would lead to the production of the harmful fuels being moved to other locations, was also swept aside by the court. Relatively many of these harmful fuels are produced in the Netherlands. Moreover, according to the judge, it has not been proven at all that suppliers will move their production due to the export ban.
Over the past 50 years, fuels in Europe have become less and less polluting in order to combat air pollution. In low-wage countries, this process is much slower. As a result, fuels exported to these countries sometimes contain up to 500 times as much sulfur as the petrol and diesel fueled in the Netherlands.
The ILT is ‘delighted’ about the verdict, but could not yet give a substantive response to it. The oil terminals lawyer was not immediately available for comment.
Leave a Reply