As of April 1st, 2015 the Decree on large facilities environmental management BES (Besluit grote inrichtingen milieubeheer BES - Bgim BES) and some parts of the Law on public housing, urban planning and environmental management BES (Wet volkshuisvesting, ruimtelijke ordening en milieubeheer - Wet vrom BES) entered into force.
What does this mean in practice?
These changes in the law concern a number of large companies that are in the business of storage and transshipment of (petroleum) oil (products). For these business activities it is no longer the Executive Council that will grant an environmental permit, but instead the minister of Infrastructure and Environment. Also the supervision and enforcement on these companies will be for the account of the minister. For questions regarding the environmental permit, the supervision and the enforcement concerning these companies as of now you can contact the ministry of Infrastructure and Environment or the representative of the ministry at the RCN. For calamities (such as fire) and the fighting thereof, the island will remain the contact.
The Wet vrom BES
Since October 10th, 2010 the BES islands are so called special Dutch municipalities.
In order to be able to realize a sustainable environmental policy on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, on December 22nd, 2011 the Wet vrom BES was established. This law has an integrated legal framework in the area of environment, urban planning, construction and living, which is designed for the BES islands. This law will enter into force in several phases. The parts of this law which enter into force as of April 1st, 2015 regard the management of environmental activities of certain types of companies with the aim to as much as possible prevent or limit negative consequences for the environment.
On which type of businesses is the Bgim applicable?
In the Bgim BES certain types of companies are indicated on which this decree is applicable. It concerns companies with a storage capacity of 2.500 m³ or more, that store or transship petroleum, petroleum products or hydrocarbons in liquid state. For four companies on Bonaire and Sint Eustatius this applies, namely NuStar (Sint Eustatius), BOPEC (Bonaire) and two offices of Curoil (Bonaire).
What does this change mean for this type of businesses?
In the Bgim is stipulated that these companies need an environmental permit to be able to execute their business activities. With a permit the competent authority gives the company authorization under conditions, to execute certain business activities which possibly could have negative consequences for the environment. Previously these companies were required to have a permit based on the local Hindrance ordinance. Because of these changes in the law, the local Hindrance ordinance will expire for these companies and as of April 1st, 2015 they have to comply with the environmental rules that are applicable based on the Wet vrom BES and the Bgim BES.
Furthermore, the Bgim BES arranges that the minister of Infrastructure and Environment is authorized to grant an environmental permit for this type of businesses. This means that other than under the Hindrance ordinance, the Executive Council is no longer authorized to do this. Also the supervision and the enforcement on these companies will be for the account of the minister. In practice Rijkswaterstaat Zee en Delta is responsible for granting permits and the Inspection on Livability and Transport (Inspectie Leefbaarheid en Transport - ILT) for supervision and enforcement. New petitions or a petition for adaption of an existing permit as of now need to be submitted at the minister of Infrastructure and Environment (in practice Rijkswaterstaat Sea and Delta). For enforcement issues you may contact the ILT.
Best available techniques
The Wet vrom BES determines that in the companies the best available techniques are applied. The Bgim BES arranges which rules and criteria the competent authority has to consider when stipulating best available techniques for the facility that is in the process to be qualified. Hereby among others the type of facility can be considered, the presence of installations, the local environmental circumstances and a reasonable introduction term. The (explicit legal) obligation to base the environmental permit on the best available techniques (beste beschikbare technieken BBT) will enter into force at the same time as the Bgim BES. This means that all companies that fall under the Bgim BES will have to comply with the BBT.
What happens with the existing hindrance permits?
All four existing companies which fall under the Bgim BES have a current permit based on the local Hindrance ordinance. Taking into consideration the transitioning right as stipulated in the Bgim BES, these permits are classified as permits based on the Wet vrom BES. The ILT will ensure that these companies execute their business activities in accordance with their permits.
Do you want to know more about this environmental regulation?
Contact the representative of the ministry of Infrastructure and Environment at the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland (RCN).
Telephone: +599 715 8333