Quantcast

Italian Judge Orders Shutdown of Dirty Coal Units Responsible For Hundreds of Deaths

Energy

While Italy is the home of small towns that can survive on renewable energy, it's also home to a power plant with two dirty coal units that a prosecutor blames for hundreds of deaths and hospitalizations.

Florence Giorgi, an investigating judge of the court of Savona, on Tuesday ruled in favor of prosecutor Francantonio Granero's request to turn off two coal-fired units at the Vado Ligure power plant in Northern Italy, Italian news site Rai News reported. The public prosecutor's office wants to seize control of the units from Tirreno Power, which the office says caused 442 deaths from 2000 to 2007 with its emissions.

Additionally, about 450 children were hospitalized for respiratory diseases and asthma attacks in the area between 2005 and 2012, the office said.

Tirreno Power says it does not understand accusations that its coal power plant caused more than 400 deaths in Northern Italy. Photo credit: Interimpianti Service

Investigators accused John Gosio—the plant's general manager, who resigned a few weeks ago—and plant manager Pasquale D'Elia of causing an environmental disaster. Granero also said in February that he had been investigating the plant and its operators for manslaughter. A third, unnamed official was also included in the investigation.

According to ReutersTirreno Power said its technical and legal teams would respond soon to the ruling after examining the decision. The company says it has always operated in full compliance with the law in a responsible fashion.

Enel, Italy's biggest utility, built the plant in 1971, but sold it in 2003. The plant has had an 800-megawatt (MW) natural gas capacity, along with its coal units' 330-MW capacity.

The court has not announced a shutdown or phase-out plan for the units. The plant is also half-owned by French company GDF Suez. According to Rai News, Tirreno Power believes there is no basis for the decision. 

"It is not clear what was the method of assessment of exposure to pollutants," the company said in a statement. "This lack of clarity is accompanied by the absence of a duty analysis of robustness, sensitivity and, thus, overall reliability of the method used."

Visit EcoWatch’s ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Bumblebees flying and pollinating a creeping thyme flower. emeliemaria / iStock / Getty Images

It pays to pollinate in Minnesota.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of icebergs on Arctic Ocean in Greenland. Explora_2005 / iStock / Getty Images

The annual Arctic thaw has kicked off with record-setting ice melt and sea ice loss that is several weeks ahead of schedule, scientists said, as the New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Sled dog teams pull researchers from the Danish Meteorological Institute through meltwater on the Greenland ice sheet in early June, 2019. Danish Meteorological Institute / Steffen M. Olsen

By Jon Queally

In yet the latest shocking image depicting just how fast the world's natural systems are changing due to the global climate emergency, a photograph showing a vast expanse of melted Arctic ice in Greenland — one in which a pair of sled dog teams appear to be walking on water — has gone viral.

Read More Show Less
CAFOs often store animal waste in massive, open-air lagoons, like this one at Vanguard Farms in Chocowinity, North Carolina. Bacteria feeding on the animal waste turns the mixture a bright pink. picstever / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Tia Schwab

It has been almost a year since Hurricane Florence slammed the Carolinas, dumping a record 30 inches of rainfall in some parts of the states. At least 52 people died, and property and economic losses reached $24 billion, with nearly $17 billion in North Carolina alone. Flood waters also killed an estimated 3.5 million chickens and 5,500 hogs.

Read More Show Less
Members of the NY Renews coalition gathered before New York lawmakers reached a deal on the Climate and Communities Protection Act. NYRenews / Twitter

By Julia Conley

Grassroots climate campaigners in New York applauded on Monday after state lawmakers reached a deal on sweeping climate legislation, paving the way for the passage of what could be some of the country's most ambitious environmental reforms.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
In this picture taken on June 4, an Indian boatman walks amid boats on the dried bed of a lake at Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, on the eve of World Environment Day. Sam Panthaky / AFP / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

Nearly 50 people died on Saturday in one Indian state as record-breaking heatwaves across the country have caused an increasingly desperate situation.

Read More Show Less
A man carries a poster in New York City during the second annual nationwide March For Science on April 14, 2018. Kena Betancur / Getty Images

By Will J. Grant

In an ideal world, people would look at issues with a clear focus only on the facts. But in the real world, we know that doesn't happen often.

People often look at issues through the prism of their own particular political identity — and have probably always done so.

Read More Show Less

YinYang / E+ / Getty Images

In a blow to the Trump administration, the Supreme Court ruled Monday to uphold a Virginia ban on mining uranium, Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less