The Ilva steel plant is among the largest in Europe, located in Taranto, Southern Italy. It accounts for 40 percent of Italy's overall steel output. The pollution produced by the plant was enough for the European Commission to press the plant for a plan to reduce emissions. In the area surrounding the plant, the EC took laboratory tests and found a high amount of air, soil, surface and ground water pollution. They had also received complaints from Taranto citizens, which prompted the investigation. The Ilva steel plant denies any environmental contamination and causation of cancer and respiratory problems in the area. A special commissioner was appointed by the Italian government in June to run the plant and oversee clean-up operations. The change in leadership was not enough, apparently. The European Commission has sent a letter of Formal Notice to Italy in regards to the plant and a two month time limit to respond. If Italy does not respond, they could face fines. Back in March 2011, Ilva and other industrial plants in Italy come under fire by the European Court of Justice for not issuing industrial emissions permits. The EC is concerned whether the current IPPC permits that Italy has issued meet the criteria for certain environmental conditions and thus comply with European law. Issuing a permit means that said company is responsible for reducing and managing their own emissions and recycling of waste in the least polluting way possible.
Italy's refusal to comply with the European Commission to get its steel plant under control would effect them financially in the short term as well as long term. If they do not find a solution to Ilva's polluting, the steel plant will continue to cause respiratory health issues and cancer to Taranto citizens, which in turn drives up health care costs for the area. The worst part is the Ilva steel plant's denial of environmental destruction caused by the plant's emissions, despite irrefutable evidence from the European Commission' lab tests. Italy needs to get it's Ilva steel plant under control. Producing a large amount of steel and keeping up with those demands has become more important than ensuring that the Taranto citizens are as healthy as possible. The European Court of Justice may also find a way to reprimand Italy for not issuing environmental permits that comply with the law. Because the Ilva steel plant is not showing responsibility for and managing its emissions and waste, Taranto's pollution levels continue to rise and cause more health problems as time goes on. If the EC can put enough pressure on Italy to comply with environmental clean-ups and industrial emissions management procedures, the citizens of Taranto could have a better chance at a cancer-free life.