Greens make fresh calls to close hazelewood power plants
By Davi바카라d Smith
27 January 2013
The European Commission has been force바카라d to react angrily after its environmental watchdo바카라g issued a formal warning to an electricity company to shut down its largest plant in Italy, citing new science that could endanger health and the environment.
The announcement came after the European Commission took the unprecedented step of holding an extraordinary hearing with a legal expert to address “scientific findings” raised by a team of environmental activists, scientists and lawyers, who claimed the plant, in Pescara del Gesù, a village in the Val di Pescara region, in central Italy, emitted about 3.9 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
The hearing was held in Rome on Monday and the scientists and activists were informed that they could take legal action against the company, RMI Power Company, for its environmental risk assessment of Pescara del Gesù, and the environment commissioner, Marco Minniti, and the Italian government for its inaction.
The EC sent its own representative, Michael Dallara, a professor of chemistry at Pisa University, and Italian environmental campaigner Federico Fiore to Rome to participate in the hearing and present their findings.
Dallara explained the scientific evidence supporting the findings. “We’re here to speak to them, but only because they’re scientists who’ve researched these issues in great detail,” he said.
He called for the Commission to issue an official response for the hearing, stating that there was a serious danger in “doubting that these facts are true because of the lack of transparency and the lack of respect for scientific independence.”
Dallara also questioned how RMI Power’s findings could be accepted as true, and said his team had been told that only the first expert report, by a member of a respected panel of scientists, had been read and decided to allow the plant to proceed.
The EC statement made no reference to the fact that the other reports have not been signed off, though it claimed there are “new scientific facts that challenge earlier analyses.”
The Italian Green Party announced on Monday that it would file a complaint with the EU’s environment office, and that the EC would also act on its recommendation that there be a parliamentary debate over the decision to allow the plant to continue operating.
This development represents the first official, though only “previous analysis” based on scientific studies, “to justify shutting down the plant,” said Francesca Palani, executive director of the Greenpeace European division