(CN) – Seven years after EU regulators first took issue with 102 of the country’s landfills, the European Court of Justice ruled Thursday that Italy has failed to bring nearly half into compliance.
The decision this morning out of Luxembourg notes that EU law gave member states until July 16, 2009, to bring into compliance or shutter any landfills that had opened before that date in 2001.
After Italy failed to bring 44 of the 102 landfill sites identified by the European Commission into compliance, the agency initiated proceedings against the country in Luxembourg.
Thursday’s ruling notes that Italy’s erratic treatment of its landfills has exacerbated the problem: in some cases it adopted a site-conditioning plan to authorize continued operations only to decide on closing the landfill later.
Because Italy used the term “conditioning” even in cases of landfill sites it decided to close, Thursday’s ruling says “it is … impossible to define without ambiguity whether [22 of the 44 out-of-compliance landfills] are to be closed or to continue to operate.”
Italian authorities for their part say that 18 of these 22 landfills are set to be closed, while the other four landfills, all located in Puglia, are going to be brought into compliance. As to the other 22 landfills, the authorities say that their path to closure is not in dispute. What is in dispute is that Italy was obliged to complete closure before the 2009 deadline.
On Thursday, the Court of Justice agreed that Italy has taken some steps toward either closing the sites that lack a permit or bringing them into compliance. It says it is not in dispute, however, that landfills across the country were not closed by Oct. 19, 2015, and were not in compliance.
Italy even confirmed at the hearing that it brought seven of the landfills into compliance in 2017 and 2018, in other words well past 2015.
The court faulted Italy meanwhile for only producing documentation on the eve of the hearing that purportedly showed it had remedied the landfills at another six sites.
Ultimately, according to the ruling, the commission’s action is well founded.
The ruling identifies dozens of landfills that were not granted a permit.
They are “the landfill sites of Avigliano (area of Serre Le Brecce), Ferrandina (area of Venita), Genzano di Lucania (area of Matinella), Latronico (area of Torre), Lauria (area of Carpineto), Maratea (area of Montescuro), Moliterno (area of Tempa La Guarella), both landfill sites of Potenza (area of Montegrosso-Pallareta), the landfill sites of Rapolla (area of Albero in Piano), Roccanova (area of Serre), Sant’Angelo Le Fratte (area of Farisi), Campotosto (area of Reperduso), Capistrello (area of Trasolero), Francavilla (Valle Anzuca), L’Aquila (area of Ponte delle Grotte), Andria (D’Oria G. & C. Snc), Canosa (CO.BE.MA), Bisceglie (CO.GE.SER), Andria (F.lli Acquaviva), Trani (BAT-Igea Srl), Torviscosa (Caffaro (undertaking)), Atella (area of Cafaro), Corleto Perticara (area of Tempa Masone), Marsico Nuovo (area of Galaino), Matera (area of La Martella), Pescopagano (area of Domacchia), Rionero in Volture (area of Ventaruolo), Salandra (area of Piano del Governo), San Mauro Forte (area of Priati), Senise (area of Palomabara), Tito (area of Aia dei Monaci), Tito (area of Valle del Forno), Capestrano (area of Tirassegno), Castellalto (area of Colle Coccu), Castelvecchio Calvisio (area of Termine), Corfinio (area of Cannucce), Corfinio (area of Case querceto), Mosciano S. Angelo (area of Santa Assunta), S. Omero (area of Ficcadenti), Montecorvino Pugliano (area of Parapoti), San Bartolomeo in Galdo (area of Serra Pastore), Trivigano (formerly Cava Zof) and Torviscosa (area of La Valletta).”