Mercoledì, 19 Settembre 2018

Environment minister and ILVA pressure Taranto court


Rome, January 21 - The Italian environment
minister and the ILVA steel company publicly pressed for the
Taranto judiciary to release its grip on the embattled ILVA
steel plant in the Italian southern port city on Monday.
Italian Environment Minister Corrado Clini told Radio 24
that the government could take new measures to pressure the
Taranto judiciary to comply with government policy.
A government cabinet meeting in which ILVA is on the agenda
is scheduled for Tuesday.
"I hope it will not be necessary to adopt another measure
on ILVA," Clini told Radio 24, while clarifying that none had
yet been drafted.
"What I fear is that a sort of conflict on the part of the
Taranto judiciary against the law. I have worked in all these
months carefully avoiding open conflict, because I don't believe
it is the path," Clini added.
"As a government, we (chose not to) to open a
jurisdictional dispute last July," Clini continued, without
openly threatening to switch course.
"On Wednesday, I will be in Taranto to meet with local
authorities, the company and local stake-holders. And I have
invited the Taranto prosecutor's office as well, because I am
convinced that the objectives are in common and I hope
collaboration is reached," Clini added.
A law decree passed late last year was designed to make it
possible for the embattled steel plant to continue operating
while it conducts much needed clean up measures.
But rather than implementing the so-called "Save ILVA"
decree, Taranto prosecutor's office this month filed a complaint
in constitutional court against the government for conflict of
powers between judiciary and state as well as violation of the
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
If the law decree were implemented, it would lift
court-seizures of plant smelters and products.
"The only objective of ILVA's release from seizure is to
finance its environmental remediation and salaries," Clini said.
ILVA chairman Bruno Ferrante spoke to reporters in Rome on
Monday, where he met with unions to discuss the situation.
"The blockade on products has gotten to the point where it
has rendered more difficult, I'd say dramatic, a situation that
has dragged on for many months by now and thus creates many
difficulties for the company," Ferrante declared.
"The fundamental premiss from which one should begin the
clear affirmation of total respect for the law," Ferrante added.
A Taranto judge shut down the smelters of ILVA's Taranto
steel plant - Italy's biggest - in July to protect the health of
workers and nearby residents from toxic emissions found to have
caused illnesses and deaths over a period of years.
In October, the court also seized control of products
sitting in the docks, waiting to be commercialized, and issued a
new wave of arrests in a corruption probe linked the on-going
pollution probe.
When a Taranto judge rejected the company's request to lift
the seizures on the basis of the government decree, the
government modified the decree to countermand the Taranto
court's ruling.
The revised decree was approved by parliament in December.
"We must give back continuity of production to the company,
protect jobs, and also allow the application of all the
provisions that the government-issued AIA requires the company
to implement," continued Ferrante.
AIA is the name given to the decree document which
stipulates environmental measures to which company operations
must comply.

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