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Power plant accused of killing 400 people in northern Italy

Coal company may face manslaughter charges

19 February, 12:11
Power plant accused of killing 400 people in northern Italy (ANSA) - Vado Ligure, February 18 - The chief prosecutor of the northern Italian port city Savona has publicly accused a local power plant of killing 400 people from 2000 to 2007 through toxic emissions. "Without the power plant the deaths would not have happened," said Francantonio Granero regarding the operations of Tirreno Power, a coal power plant. The prosecutor said that a study by court-appointed experts revealed that "from 2000 to 2007, 400 deaths should be attributed to the emissions of the power plant". The prosecutor's office has two ongoing probes into the activities of Tirreno Power - one for environmental disaster and another for multiple manslaughter. Tirreno Power's ex-managing director Giovanni Gosio - who stepped down several weeks ago - and the power plant's director, Pasquale D'Elia, are under investigation, as well as a third person who has not yet been identified. Savona's prosecutor added that in addition to the deaths, the power plant had also caused "between 1,700 and 2,000 hospitalizations among adults for respiratory and cardiovascular disease and 450 hospitalizations among children for respiratory disease and asthma attacks between 2005 and 2012". The consultants' findings concern a well-defined geographical zone of emissions exposure, and claimed to have been able to exclude the impact of automotive traffic, other companies operating in the area and smoke from ships in the nearby port.

Tirreno Power issued a statement saying the experts hired by the prosecution were "biased" and that their findings have never been critically examined. The power company added that from the study "we cannot understand what was the method for analysing emissions exposure" and that the lack of clarity and absence of "necessary, robust analysis" meant one cannot draw a "concrete causal link".