Ilva, government locks down the blast furnace

Taranto - Yet another crucial day for Taranto’s Ilva.Today, Wilma Gilli, the preliminary hearing judge in the “Ambiente Svenduto” case in Taranto, is due to make a decision regarding the trial and conviction of those who have chosen a plea agreement

di Gil. F.

Taranto - Yet another crucial day for Taranto’s Ilva. Today, Wilma Gilli, the preliminary hearing judge in the “Ambiente Svenduto” case in Taranto, is due to make a decision regarding the trial and conviction of those who have chosen a plea agreement. At 2 pm, the special commissioners will face the Environmental and Production Activities Committees of the Chamber. They will take stock of the business and environmental plans, while in the evening the House will carry out a vote of confidence suggested by the Government, on the law decree regarding bankruptcy.

In this decree, an amendment was incorporated to “save manufacturing plants”, as well as the contents of Decree Law 92 dated 4 July which was launched by the executive authorities to avoid shutdown of the blast furnace 2. The plant has been subject to seizure without the right of use by the prosecutor in Taranto after a fatal accident that occurred in June. There are 47 requests for trial and 5 requests for conviction with a plea bargain under scrutiny by the preliminary hearing judge after the judicial inquiry on 26 July, 2012.

This inquiry led the investigating prosecutor Patrizia Todisco to accuse the company of environmental disaster, and to seize without right of use the entire steel plant area in Taranto. Today, a year after the preliminary hearing, Judge Gilli will decide on the fate of the 52 defendants. Altogether, 44 individuals and three companies were indicted: Riva Fire, Riva Forni and Ilva. Among the individuals are Nicola and Fabio Riva and the former director of the steel furnace in Taranto, Luigi Capogrosso, accused among others of conspiracy to environmental disaster.

Other indicted individuals are: the former governor of Puglia, Nichi Vendola (aggravated bribery); the mayor of Taranto, Ezio Stefano (omission of acts of office); as well as current and former administrators and public officials; and several of Ilva’s former executives and consultants. Commissioners Piero Gnudi, Enrico Laghi and Corrado Carruba will explain to Parliament the industrial and environmental future of Ilva. For the industrial part, the management has planned to establish a new Ilva company, while for the environmental recovery, the company must demonstrate later this month, that it has implemented 80% of the directions as described in the Integrated Environmental Authorisation (AIA).

On 27 July, Ilva will send the AIA report to the Ministry of Environment. However, the conflict between the company and the prosecution continues over whether or not Ilva can use the Blast Furnace 2 during the seizure. Ilva will present to the investigating judge a new argument relating to the use of the furnace, pursuant to Decree Law 92 that is currently being converted. If the investigating judge were to conclude unfavourably, Ilva will appeal to the Supreme Court. The decree that Ilva is requesting to be applied, is about to become law sooner than expected. Parliament has included provisions relating to Ilva in the Law Decree on bankruptcy that is being examined which will be subject to a parliament vote between tonight and Friday, after the government indicated it would put through a vote of confidence. After the vote in Parliament, the Decree on Bankruptcy, which will be “armoured” with the Ilva clause, will go to the Senate for final approval.