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Home English Italian govt passes decree to save troubled ILVA steel plant

Italian govt passes decree to save troubled ILVA steel plant


Rome, November 30 - The Italian government Friday
approved a decree that aims to make it possible to keep the
troubled ILVA steel plant in Taranto operating while a clean-up
operation takes place.
The decree was passed by the cabinet after the company said
earlier this week that the plant risked "imminent" closure due
to a criminal probe into an environmental scandal that saw
several top managers arrested.
The Taranto plant's furnaces were placed under special
administration in July following accusations emissions from them
caused abnormally high levels of tumours and respiratory
diseases in the Taranto area.
Premier Mario Monti said Friday the decree would protect
local people's health as well as the jobs of some 20,000
"Some people have called this the save ILVA decree," Monti
said. "I'd say it's a save the environment, health and jobs
Before Friday's cabinet meeting Monti had said closing the
plant, and another large one in Genoa which depends on its,
would take eight billion euros out of the Italian economy.
The decree aims to end a tussle between central government
and local magistrates over whether the plant should be shut down
while the site is cleared up. A shutdown for a clean-up would
have led to the plant's permanent closure, the company had
On Tuesday Environment Minister Corrado Clini accused
Taranto prosecutors of trying "get the plant closed down".
Before Friday's cabinet meeting, a Taranto judge rejected a
petition to take parts of the site out of special
According to the decree, a government appointed official
will monitor whether ILVA respects the terms of an environmental
authorization (AIA) plan.
The company could face fines of 10% of the plant's annual
turnover if it fails to do so and Industry Minister Corrado
Passera said it could eventually lose control of the site
Bad weather added to the plant's woes this week when a
crane operator was killed after being swept out to sea by a
tornado Wednesday.
The tornado also hurt about 20 people and caused several
structures inside the site to collapse.
The plant at the Puglia port is the second biggest
steelworks in Europe.

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