An aerial view of the closed Arcelormittal steel site in Schifflange, which is now destined for redevelopment
Steel giant ArcelorMittal has been ordered to return greenhouse gas emission credits after an appeal was rejected by the Constitutional Court and European Court of Justice of the European Union.
According to a government statement issued on Friday, the steel firm closed its Schifflange steel mill for an indefinite period of time at the end of 2011. The firm did not notify the Luxembourg authorities of the closure until several months later and the following year it received 80,922 CO2 credits.
Under Luxembourg law, the authorities may claim the total or partial surrender of unused allowances when they are notified of a total or partial cessation of an installation's operation. The government therefore claimed a refund, which ArcelorMittal challenged in court on the grounds that restitution without compensation would amount to illegal expropriation.
“On the international greenhouse gas emissions market, this surplus represented a gain of some value for ArcelorMittal,” the government said in a statement.
It added: “Following the court's judgment, the minister of the environment, climate and sustainable development formally asked the company to comply with the judgment and to return the allowances unduly collected by Arcelor.
“Once surrendered, the allowances will be destroyed so as not to falsify the market.”
Site for development
The former steel site in Schifflange has now been earmarked for a major development. Last week Paperjam reported that four designs had been shortlisted following a call for applications. The designs will be fine-tuned in consultation with the public via workshops, after which a final plan will be selected and put for approval to the government, local communes and ArcelorMittal. The first building plots could be made available for sale by 2023-2024.