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BUSINESS SHORT

US Steel takes EC to court over emission limits

SLOVAKIA'S dominant steel producer, US Steel Košice, has filed a complaint against the European Commission (EC) due to the caps it has imposed on carbon dioxide emissions from Slovakia.

Like the Slovak government, the company regards the emissions limits as unjust.

"Given that investments and strategic decisions in this sector are planned 20 years in advance, the EC decision raises insecurity in industrial circles," said US Steel Košice president David Lohr during a meeting with Slovak Environment Minister Jaroslav Izák.

According to Lohr, the steel producer needs to know the EU's intentions for the period after 2020 as soon as possible.

The Environment Ministry is now preparing to allocate the 30.9 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions approved by the EC for the industrial sector. Companies have been invited to submit emissions reports for 2005 and 2006, based on which the ministry will assign them new quotas.

Although the EC cap actually represents an emissions increase from the 2004 to 2006 period, it is about 25 percent lower than the 41.2 million tons the government had requested.

The ministry will consult its first draft proposal with the country's largest firms. Following a public review on the internet, the ministry will put the draft forward for cabinet review in May 2007.

Slovakia has already filed a complaint against the EC emission cap, but this appeal does not have a deferral effect.

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