SECTION V.
Defencess


Heading I.
General provisions


Article 15.5.1.

1.

In cases in which the operator is of the opinion that he satisfies the conditions stated in Articles 15.5.3, 15.5.4, 15.5.5 or 15.5.6, he must serve his reasoned standpoint on repayment of the costs incurred to the competent authority by registered post.

He shall do this, under penalty of forfeiture, within a period of ninety days after completion of the measures.

2.

The competent authority will investigate his reasoned standpoint and assess whether or not the operator satisfies the conditions.

The competent authority will inform the operator of its decision within a period of sixty days after receipt of his reasoned standpoint.

3.

If the competent authority is of the opinion that the operator’s request for repayment is grounded, the competent authority will take the appropriate measures within the confines of the credit available in the Mina fund.

4.

In cases in which the operator invokes the defences stated in Article 15.5.3, he must recoup the costs first of all from the third- party . If it cannot be determined who the third party at fault is, or if he is not solvent to carry all or part of the costs, the operator can recover his costs or the non-collected portion thereof in accordance with the measures stated in 1, second paragraph.


Article 15.5.2. The provisions of this chapter do not apply to soil damage.

Heading II.
Third party at fault and mandatory government order


Article 15.5.3. An operator is not obliged to bear the costs of measures taken by virtue of this title, if he is able to demonstrate that the environmental damage or the immediate threat that such damage will occur was caused by a third party, despite the fact that appropriate safety measures were taken and insofar as the third party involved is not a legal predecessor, representative, appointee or agent of the operator.

Article 15.5.4. An operator is not obliged to bear the costs of measures taken by virtue of this title, if he is able to demonstrate that the environmental damage, or the immediate threat that such damage will occur, results from the following of a enforcement order or instruction issued by a government authority, unless it is an order or instruction resulting from an emission or incident caused by the activities of the operator himself.

Heading III.
Licence


Article 15.5.5.

The operator does not need to bear the costs of remediation measures taken on the grounds of this title, if he demonstrates that:

  1. he was not at fault or negligent;
  2. the environmental damage was caused by an emission or incident that is expressly permitted on the grounds of, and entirely consistent with the conditions of, a licence granted under or by virtue of prevailing federal and regional provisions and implementing orders that implement the Community legislative measures stated in appendix IV, as applied on the date of the emission or incident.

Heading IV.
State of scientific and technological knowledge


Article 15.5.6.

The operator does not need to bear the costs of remediation measures taken on the grounds of this title, if he demonstrates that:

  1. he was not at fault or negligent;
  2. the environmental damage was caused by emissions or activities or any way in which a product is used during an activity, where the operator is able to prove that, based on the state of scientific and technological knowledge at the time at which they took place, they were not considered harmful.