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Shannon LNG faces further challenge in High Court

category national | environment | press release author Wednesday July 01, 2020 00:08author by foie - Friends of the Irish Environment Report this post to the editors

Press Release - Friends of the Irish Environment 30th June 2020

Shannon LNG faces further challenge in High Court
Judicial Review of listing as ‘Project of Common Interest’

The controversial Shannon LNG terminal proposed for the Shannon Estuary faces its second challenge in the High Court from the environmental charity, Friends of the Irish Environment today. The environmental organisation is asking the Irish Court to seek a ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union on whether the inclusion of the project on a list of priority European Energy infrastructure was lawful.

FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT
PRESS RELEASE
FOR TUESDAY 30 JULY 2020

Shannon LNG faces further challenge in High Court
Judicial Review of listing as ‘Project of Common Interest’

The controversial Shannon LNG terminal proposed for the Shannon Estuary faces its second challenge in the High Court from the environmental charity, Friends of the Irish Environment today. The environmental organisation is asking the Irish Court to seek a ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union on whether the inclusion of the project on a list of priority European Energy infrastructure was lawful.

Last month the European Court of Justice issued its Advocate General’s Opinion on the first challenge to the extension of the planning permission for the terminal, advising that the Irish State had failed to remove ‘all reasonable scientific doubt as to the effects of the proposed works on the site concerned’ and the State was required now to ‘close any gaps’ before extending the permission. A judgment is expected later this year.

The new Judicial Review challenges the decision of Ireland and the European Commission to adopt the proposed Shannon LNG Terminal and connecting pipeline as a ‘Project of Common Interest’ [PCI].

This designation assures developments of ‘the most rapid treatment legally possible’ and the ‘highest status possible for permitting. PCI projects are ‘of public interest from an energy policy perspective and may be considered as being of overriding public interest’, as well as qualifying for financial support.

In its new action, FIE alleges that both Ireland and the EU failed to do the required independent sustainability/climate and cost-benefit analysis required, including having regard to Climate Change and Low Carbon Economy Act 2015 before the EU legislation allows PCI designation.

In granting FIE leave to bring this Judicial Review in February 2020, High Court Justice Dennis McDonald said that the case was well made and in time, praising the clarity of the pleadings. He ordered that the European Commission be notified as a courtesy, although they are not Notice Parties.

In April Justice Simons refused the State’s request for a delay because of difficulties accessing files during the pandemic, stating that: ‘Unless the administration of justice is to grind to a halt entirely, however, this cannot represent a valid excuse for adjourning legal proceedings for a period of in excess of three months. All of us will have to accommodate ourselves to the new working environment demanded by the need to respond to the pandemic.’

In addition to challenging the validity of the regulation designating Shannon LNG as a Project of Common Interest, this case is the first time an environmental NGO has sought to access the Court of Justice using a so-called ‘validity reference’ via an Irish court.

Direct access to the Court of Justice has long been a controversial issue with NGOs blocked from directly challenging EU environmental measures due to a lack of direct concern. FIE hopes to clarify how organisations interested in environmental protection can use national procedure to access the Luxembourg court and to establish Ireland as a jurisdiction of choice of litigation against measures adopted by EU institutions.

The case is schedule to run virtually for 4 days from Tuesday, 30 June, 2020.

COMMENT:
Fred Logue 087 1316023 (solicitor)
Tony Lowes 087 2176316
Irish language: David Healy 087 6178852

NOTES
Second Case: Leave given February 2020
https://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/fie-work/17767-fie-given-leave-to-judicially-review-shannon-lng-terminal-eu-funding

Adjournment refused April 2020
https://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/press-releases/17782-high-court-refuses-state-s-request-for-adjournment-in-shannon-lng-judicial-review

https://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/library/17781-high-court-judicial-review-refusing-state-delaying-proceedings-for-shannon-lng-pci-list-case

First Case: Opinion of European Court of Justice on challenge to planning permission
http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document_print.jsf?docid=226000&text=&dir=&doclang=DE&part=1&occ=first&mode=req&pageIndex=0&cid=5576713

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