Government criticises ILVA decree

Negotiations frozen pending outcome of legal action

(ANSA) - Taranto, November 29 - Sparks flew between the Italian government and local and regional authorities in Puglia on Wednesday after the latter challenged a decree modifying the environmental cleanup plan for the troubled ILVA steel plant in Taranto. Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti expressed his surprise at the move, saying the new industrial plan for Europe's largest steelworks is strong and that the environmental plan is the best that has ever been seen. Economic Development Minister Carlo Calenda accused the local and regional authorities of schizophrenic management and said the deal on ILVA involving sale to a consortium led by ArcelorMittal and the associated environmental clean-up risked falling apart. "Enough of stealing our children's future, blackmail doesn't frighten us," replied Taranto mayor Rinaldo Melucci in reference to the ongoing health risk posed by the plant.