EU Court Rebuffs Steel Company on Emissions

     (CN) – Europe’s high court dismissed a steel producer’s challenge of the European Union’s emissions-trading framework, citing a previous ruling that justified differential treatment among carbon dioxide-emitting sectors.

     The Court of Justice ruled late 2008 against French steel company Arcelor Atlantique et Lorraine, which had claimed that the steel industry was singled out for greenhouse gas emissions regulation when other sectors, such as the aluminum and chemical industries, were not subject to a directive stemming from the Kyoto Protocol.
     In the current action, Arcelor SA, the world’s largest steel producer since its 2006 merger with Mittal, claimed that application of the emissions-reduction directive to pig iron and steel production infringed its property rights and business freedoms, and violated the principle of equal treatment.
     The Court of Justice dismissed Arcelor’s action outright, saying the company is not directly targeted by the directive, which applies in a blanket and “abstract” manner to all carbon dioxide-emitting facilities. The directive is “not capable” of distinguishing among operators, giving Arcelor no basis for its claims, the court ruled.
     The high court also stressed that it had already addressed the equal-treatment issue in its earlier ruling, which determined that differential treatment was justified due to the unique composition and emission levels within different industries.
     The Court of Justice’s dismissal scuttled Arcelor’s claims for damages and annulment of the directive.
     Pig iron is a high-carbon, transitional product of smelting iron ore with coke.

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