Monday, January 17

The Supreme Court gives the Government free rein to dismantle the Castor gas warehouse

The Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of the promoter of the Castor gas plant against the decision to dismantle it. The judges have rejected the appeal filed by Escal UGS against the decision of the 2019 Council of Ministers for lack of active legitimacy. For the Supreme Court, the promoter is no longer affected by these decisions “once it has voluntarily renounced the exploitation of the aforementioned underground storage and that the concession has been declared extinct. ”

The Castellón Court acquits the defendants of the Castor project of a crime against the environment

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The company, owned by ACS and the Canadian company Escal, brought before the third room the decision of the Council of Ministers to dismantle the gas warehouse located off the coast of the Castellón town of Vinaroz. This executive agreement “put an end to the hibernation of the« Castor »underground storage facilities, agreeing to dismantle them and order the sealing and definitive abandonment of the wells.”

The court dismisses the appeal without going into the merits, understanding that the company does not have standing to question the agreement of the central executive. The Supreme Court explains that dismantling the warehouse has nothing to do with the previous concessionaire but, in any case, with the “current and sole administrator of the underground storage facility, Enagás.” This company has not announced any type of appeal.

The gas warehouse came into operation in July 2012 and a year later the gas injections began to cause seismic movements that caused the stoppage of operations in September 2013. A multiple legal battle for compensation, decommissioning and repairs began then. possible criminal liability of those responsible for the warehouse.

Regarding compensation, the Supreme Court established a year ago that the State had to compensate Santader, Caixabank and Bankia with 1,350 million euros for the money they advanced to compensate the construction company ACS for the early closure of the infrastructure. The judges recognized the right of these banks to collect from the Administration the money they had paid to acquire the right to collect.

The criminal procedure was also sentenced a few days ago at the Castellón Provincial Court. The Escal UGS company and the rest of the defendants have been acquitted of the crime against the environment and natural resources of which they were accused. “The judges, in a sentence that can still be appealed before the Supreme Court, understand that the regulations were complied with at all times. of the environment and that there was no serious danger with the tremors, in addition to denying that the directors of the company withheld information from the authorities.

The decommissioning process, since its approval in late 2019, has been slow. The first phase of sealing and definitive abandonment of the wells came out to public information a year ago and an Enagás report made public two years ago by Compromís considers that the closure of the plant will cost 260 million and will take 5 years.