Environment, Health & Science
25.07.2011 18:01
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Coastal Town Mayors Protest over Italy's Gas Terminal

Koper/Piran, 25 July (STA) - The mayors of Slovenian coastal towns Koper and Piran, Boris Popovic and Peter Bossman, protested strongly on Monday against the Italian environmental authorities' endorsement of the construction of an off-shore gas terminal in the Gulf of Trieste. Popovic said Koper would do everything to prevent the construction.

It is unreasonable that the environmental permit for the construction of the off-shore gas terminal and a gas pipeline Trieste-Grado-Villesse was issued despite the protests from municipalities in the Gulf of Trieste and warnings of the infrastructure's negative effects on the environment, Bossman pointed out.

Tourism is Piran's "main source of income so we cannot accept a construction of an ecological bomb just off our coast," he noted.

The Piran mayor thus urged the Slovenian government to do everything in its power and jurisdiction to prevent the construction and called on other municipalities in the Gulf of Trieste to jointly express their objection.

The Koper mayor meanwhile stressed that his city's policy on gas terminals was clear and there would be no gas off the shore of Koper and no terminal off the shore of Trieste or in its inland surrounding area.

He added that Italy's Friuli-Venezia Giulia region opposed the terminals too.

The next step is to extend the lawsuit so it will include at least the Trieste municipality, Popovic further said.

In his response to the green light Environment Minister Roko Zarnic said on Friday that "so far, there haven't been elements on the Italian side to go into a lawsuit", but that the Environment Ministry would study closely all the documents regarding cross-border impact of the terminal that Italy is to send by autumn.

The ministry said in an additional press release on Monday that it was preparing a reply to the letter by Italian Environment Minister Stefania Prestiacomo informing them of the permit for the terminal and pipeline.

The European Commission expressed its expectation in January last year that Italy would not take any decision regarding the construction of gas terminals before the completion of a study on the environmental impact of all planned projects (an off- and on-shore terminals and a gas pipeline).

The Commission furthermore made it clear that decisions on the launch of investments cannot be taken without knowing and taking into consideration cumulative impacts of all energy projects on the environment in the Gulf of Trieste and without knowing potential cumulative cross-borer effects on the environment.

The Slovenian government announced in June 2010 that it was ready to take Italy to the European Court of Justice if the terminal was not in line with EU environmental regulations.

25.07.2011 18:01

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