The contentious-administrative chamber of the National Court has estimated the appeals that Greenpeace and the Pontevedra City Council presented against the resolutions of the central Administration by which it was agreed, for a period of 60 years, to extend the Ence concession . Specifically, the extension, granted by the Government of the popular Mariano Rajoy, was for the occupation of an area of 373,524 square meters of public land maritime domain destined for this Kraft cellulose pulp factory in the strip between Pontevedra and Marín, in the lands of Lourizán. That decision was adopted with the government in office and allowed Ence to continue operating on the coastline until 20173.
An internal Ence report warns of mercury spills into the Ría de Pontevedra from an old subsidiary and warns of the health risk
In the judgment dated July 15, the court considers that the resolution of January 20, 2016 of the General Director of Sustainability of the Coast and the Sea, by delegation of the Minister, does not justify, as required by the Coastal Law , that the trash, by its nature, cannot have another location.
Before ruling on the merits, the Hearing validates the raid of the State Bar, formalized in 2019.
Regarding the merits of the matter, the court explains that by virtue of article 32.1 of the Coastal Law, it must be justified that the facilities whose extension is agreed by their nature cannot have another location.
In the specific case, the Hearing indicates that according to the expert evidence carried out it appears that fresh water, in a certain volume, is a necessary and essential resource for the production process of bleached Kraft paper pulp plants, such as that of Ence Pontevedra, as well as the proximity to water resources (salt or fresh water) for the evacuation of the spill, “but not that said plants, due to their nature or configuration, have to be located in the terrestrial maritime public domain, which is what Requires article 32.1 of the Law of Coasts “.
Therefore, he adds, they can be located in the vicinity, but outside said coastal area, in the vicinity of rivers or large bodies of water. The room cites other cases such as the BHK cellulose factories, such as the Torraspapel SA in Zaragoza and Papelera Guipuzcoana de Zicuñaga SA, which are located next to rivers where they evacuate the effluent, and also with the Ence factory in Navia, which according to the experts is comparable to that of Pontevedra, which is located near, but outside the coastal area, as has been proven in this proceeding.
For the court it is significant that Ence “has not been able to provide documentation or concession that proves its location on the coastal domain, but only the resolution of March 21, 2013 granting the concession for occupation of the manio on the right bank of the estuary of Navia, destined for a plant nursery (excluding the Eucalyptus Nitens plantation), not for occupation of the factory facilities “.
The judgment recalls that “the administrative action on the terrestrial maritime public domain must pursue, ex article 2 of the Coastal Law, among other purposes, to ensure its integrity and due conservation, adopting, where appropriate, protection and restoration measures necessary, as well as those of guaranteeing the public use of the sea, its shoreline and the rest of the public domain, with no exceptions other than those derived from duly justified reasons of public interest, which in the present case, the contested Order has not made nor justified “.