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Document 62008CN0478

Case C-478/08: Reference for a preliminary ruling from the Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale della Sicilia (Italy) lodged on 6 November 2008 — Buzzi Unichem SpA and Others v Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico and Others

OJ C 19, 24.1.2009, p. 14–14 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

24.1.2009   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 19/14


Reference for a preliminary ruling from the Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale della Sicilia (Italy) lodged on 6 November 2008 — Buzzi Unichem SpA and Others v Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico and Others

(Case C-478/08)

(2009/C 19/24)

Language of the case: Italian

Referring court

Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale della Sicilia

Parties to the main proceedings

Applicants: Buzzi Unichem SpA and Others

Defendants: Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico and Others

Questions referred

1.

May the ‘polluter pays’ principle laid down in Article 174(2) EC be interpreted as meaning that, even if only by way of exception, the obligations regarding emergency safety measures, decontamination and environmental reinstatement of a contaminated site (and/or the costs relating thereto) may be imposed on a person having no connection with the release into the environment of the substances which led to the ecological impairment of that site, or, in the event of a negative answer, does that principle preclude national legislation and/or an administrative approach which imposes obligations regarding emergency safety measures, decontamination and environmental reinstatement of a contaminated site (and/or the costs relating thereto) upon a person who claims to have no connection with the release into the environment of the substances which led to the ecological impairment of that site, without any prior ascertainment of any individual responsibility by virtue of a causal link, or merely because that person happens to operate in or has property rights in a contaminated area, in breach or disregard of the principle of proportionality?

2.

Does the ‘polluter pays’ principle preclude national legislation, and in particular Article 2050 of the [Italian] Civil Code, which allows the Public Authority, where a number of industrial operators operate within the contaminated site, to impose on them the burdens of the decontamination of that site, without prior ascertainment on an individual basis of their respective responsibility for the pollution, or in any event merely because they are deemed accountable by virtue of their ownership of the means of production and are therefore subject to strict liability for the damage they cause to the environment or may they in any event be required to reinstate the area around the widespread pollution identified there even where no material causation has been established for the pollution and there is no proportional basis for it?

3.

Does the Community directive on compensation for environmental damage (Directive 2004/35/EC (1) of 21 April 2004 and in particular Article 7 thereof and Annex II thereto, to which that article refers) preclude national legislation which allows the Public Administration to require, ‘as reasonable options for remedying environmental damage’, that action be taken concerning environmental matrices (comprising in this case the ‘physical confines’ of the groundwater along the entire sea front) which are different from and go further than those chosen on completion of an appropriate investigation carried out on a consultative basis, which have already been approved and put into effect and are being implemented, without in any event having assessed the site-specific conditions, the costs of implementation in relation to the reasonably foreseeable benefits, the possible or probable collateral damage and adverse effects on public health and safety, and the necessary time scales for implementation?

4.

Given the specificity of the situation prevailing in the Priolo Site of National Interest, does the Community directive on compensation for environmental damage (Directive 2004/35/CE of 21 April 2004 and in particular Article 7 and Annex II thereto, to which that article refers) preclude national legislation which allows the Public Administration to impose such requirements as conditions for an authorisation for the lawful use of the areas not directly affected by the decontamination in so far as they have already been decontaminated or were not in any event polluted, included within the limits of the Priolo Site of National Interest?


(1)  OJ L 143, p. 56.


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