The fine that Chemours will receive if it continues to release the chemical as of January 1 is justified. The judge ruled that on Friday. The threatened fine for emitting another substance will be cancelled.
Chemours appealed to the court against the two fines imposed by the province of Zuid Holland (so-called fine order).
The first penalty is the discharge of trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) into the sewer. If the factory in Dordrecht continues to discharge TFA from January 1, it must pay €125,000 for each violation, up to a maximum of €1.25 million.
Chemours initially said it did not know that TFA was created during the production process. It also says it cannot guarantee that matter will not be created. However, it has now applied for a permit to unload.
TFA is a type of pfas and is classified by the RIVM among substances of possible very high concern. The exact health consequences of pfas (the collective name for chemicals that do not break down) are not yet known. PFAs are linked to various cancers and decreased fertility.
During Tuesday's hearing, Chemours indicated that if it was no longer permitted to discharge TFA, the plant would have to be closed. The governorate doubted this. “But if that's the result, that's the result,” the district attorney said.
Chemicals are still allowed to emit greenhouse gases
The judge agreed with Chemours in a second case. This case concerns the release of HCFC-22 gas. This gas does not pose direct harm to the environment, but it is one of the greenhouse gases that deplete the ozone layer.
Chemours is authorized to release 3,500 kilograms of HCFC-22 per year. During maintenance of one of the storage containers containing the substance, a large amount of HCFC-22 was released such that the permissible annual amount was exceeded.
The province believed that the gas released during maintenance was part of the “annual licensed tonnage,” and Chemours did not. The judge agrees with the manufacturer.
Both provisions relate to an interim measure, so it is possible that a judge may decide differently at a later date.
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