Rome

Italian govt may appeal if ILVA fails to certify upgrades

Clini says law must be respected

Italian govt may appeal if ILVA fails to certify upgrades

Rome, November 9 - The Italian government could appeal to prosecutors in the southern Italian city of Taranto if the local ILVA steelworks, currently under court trusteeship, fails to obtain the necessary environmental authorization (AIA) to operate, Environment Minister Corrado Clini said Friday. The Environment Ministry would initiate the legal petition should the AIA not be obtained, Clini said, adding that ''in my opinion operations would be contrary to the law, and since the law has to be respected, we will move''. Last month, the chairman of the embattled ILVA steelworks - the biggest in Italy - questioned whether it would be able to adhere to the conditions necessary for ILVA to obtain the AIA authorizations, saying they needed to see if this was technically and economically feasible. The costs of the required environmental remediation measures have been pegged in the billions, according to unofficial estimates. The new environmental authorisation was drawn up by a group of experts on the basis of recent inspections at the plant. Other measures reportedly contained in the blueprint include a ban on the use of petroleum coke, the start of procedures to shut down six of the 10 coke plants, covering conveyor belts and mineral deposits, and doing maintenance on two of the blast furnaces. The steelworks are at the centre of a heated industrial dispute after a local preliminary-investigations judge ordered the partial closure of the plant due to long-running environmental and health concerns in July. ILVA and the government have been trying to keep the plant in operation while the necessary upgrades are made.

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