The Wörld Is Yours

Reinventing the steel

Despite what the title of this post might sound like, I am not going to write about Pantera’s album having the same title (Pantera was a preeminent hard and heavy band), but of what it is going on in Italy with the ILVA in Taranto. As it is widely known, the management has decided to shut down the Taranto plant. I have been writing in another blog until last week (before moving to blogactiv) and this is what I wrote on the same topic: “in December the production might stop – and it most likely to happen if a solution won’t be found”. Well, unfortunately I was not wrong.

In order to understand the overall process that has led to this dramatic solution, it is necessary to understand what has not been done in Italy, and what I am going to write it is applicable to the entire country. Long story short, we have been lucking of a serious environmental policy for the last 30 years at least, since the creation of CIPA (the Inter-ministerial Committee for the Environment), established in 1979.

Despite the first instances for the protection of the environment date back to the 60s, these have been characterized mainly from their conservative peculiarities. It is not a matter of innovation then, but of conservation. This approach has created a wide gap between us and Northern European countries, where the instances have been treated with an innovative approach, looking at the future.

The situation has not changed in the last decades, for some simple reasons: lack of coordination, lack of preparation of the decision makers, and because of the widely accepted practices of favoritism. Actually it is not a secret that Italian domestic politics has been based on the last element, and the first relevant politological work on this issue has been made in 1964 thanks to Joseph LaPalombara efforts.

I have deliberately avoided to go on with the list as I want to focus only on some elements. Because of them, a first organic organization of the environmental policy in Italy has been only in 1991, but relevant topics related to the links between Industry and Environment has not been fully accomplished. The ILVA case is a clear example of this. For several decades the industrial plant has polluted surrounding areas and, of course, not only those because dioxin and other dangerous elements have been spread who knows how far.

In the approval process of the IPPC directive of the EU (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) several effort have been done from the Italian side in order to undermine the weight of the directive and its impact. Taranto, its inhabitants, the industrial sector and surrounding areas are paying the consequences now. Why? Because of the lack of strength of the Italian governments in clearly define a national strategy for the environment and in getting rid of “conservative” logics and patronage systems.

No easy solution can be found and made, and for sure the last appropriate one is the judicial way only, but in order to make an attempt in finding one, it will be important to clearly combine several instruments at policy level, at financial level, at environmental level, at politics level and, finally, considering one of the three pillars,on which political science is based: the polity one, from which politics and policy strictly depends. Without this combination, we will only assist to 20,000 more people losing their jobs. Who has the guts to take on this responsibility?


Author :