Mercoledì, 17 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Govt happy with decision to keep ILVA steel plant open

English
© ANSA

(ANSA) - Rome , August 8 - The decision to keep the
troubled ILVA steel plant in Taranto operating is a "balanced"
one that takes account of the local community's need for jobs
and health concerns, Labour Minister Elsa Fornero said
Wednesday.
She was commenting after the company said a court ruling on
Tuesday makes it possible for Europe's largest steel plant to
keep running while essential upgrades in order to meet
regulatory requirements.
This "balanced decision," will mean ILVA can "have a
factory without affecting the health of citizens," Fornero told
Rai radio.
"This ruling means everyone must be commitment to
collaborate... to ensure that the clean-up operation can swiftly
restore some calm to all those many families who depend on
working at ILVA".
A court in July had ordered the company to halt parts of
its operations, which prosecutors say have endangered workers
and nearby residents with fumes and dust particles since 1995.
On Tuesday, another court partly upheld that decision to
overhaul portions of the ILVA steelworks in Taranto, and to hold
its former presidents and ex-director under house arrest after
evidence of long-standing toxic pollution was found last month.
But the court also reversed an order by prosecutors last
month to close parts of the plant - an order which had sparked
protests among its 12,000 workers and antagonized Italy's
biggest labour unions.
The court also named current ILVA President Bruno Ferrante
as the administrator to oversee the impounded portions of the
plant. That will include 336-million-euro clean-up plan.
He later told a news conference that this was essentially a
reprieve for the plant, as it must be kept running for the
upgrades to be carried out safely.
"We should no longer use the word 'closure' to say that a
factory is improving its safety conditions and is reducing its
environmental impact," Ferrante said.
Union leaders called for cooperation on Wednesday.
"We were very worried, now we can go towards a more
comforting situation - but we must all work together," said CISL
head Raffaele Bonanni.
Closing the ILVA plant and eliminating jobs would have
devastated the community of Taranto, which is struggling like
the rest of Italy to deal with high unemployment, recession, and
the European economic crisis.
Environment Minister Corrado Clini said he hopes ILVA will
now stop complaining about the costs of improvements, and clean
up its act.
But, in an interview with the online newspaper Fatto
Quotidiano, Clini said that he would "certainly not" want his
family to live near the operation.
"Theoretically, it is possible to minimize (polluted) dust
from spreading to the neighbourhood... but in practice, it is
not easy," he said.
Last year ILVA produced 8.5 million tonnes of steel, nearly
30% of Italy's total steel production.
Over the medium- to long-term, Italy must decide on what
kind of investment it must make if it is to maintain a vibrant
steel industry, Fornero said in the radio interview.
"You have to see if there are the resources in Italy so
this industry can continue," she said.
"We need to work in a medium-term perspective to ensure
that Italy does not lose this industry".

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