Greta or not Greta, in Italy we start drilling again

Greta or not Greta, in Italy we start drilling again
Greta or not Greta, in Italy we start drilling again

On the eve of Cop26, moreover after the commitments made yesterday by Prime Minister Mario Draghi with Greta Thunberg on the fight against climate change and environmental sustainability, in Italy gas and oil searches resume. From now. Because yesterday the suspension provision decided by Parliament expired pending the so-called ‘Pitesai’, Plan for the Sustainable Energy Transition of Eligible Areas, essentially the national plan that should plan drilling, where, how and why. To date, the plan, initially entrusted to Minister Luigi Di Maio when he was Minister of Economic Development, then passed to the competences of Stefano Patuanelli and now of Roberto Cingolani, is still not approved, despite the fact that the current minister, since he has been in office , has made the races to prepare it. In any case, only yesterday the Plan was sent to the Unified Conference, we will have to wait for the opinion of the Regions, at least two months but it can become even six. In the meantime, the activities already authorized and suspended until yesterday are resumed: in all 63 research permits already issued.

The ministry is keen to point out that the ‘Mite will not authorize any new mining and research activities ”. But, evidently, in the absence of a decree extending the suspension decided two years ago, the activities already authorized will resume. Greenpeace, Legambiente and WWF have calculated that from today the process could restart for 5 applications for permits for prospecting at sea, for which the environmental assessment is underway, for a total of 68,335 sq km; 24 applications for research permits at sea (some of which with the EIA procedure in progress) for a total of 13,777 sq km and involving the Strait of Sicily (4 applications), the coasts of the Adriatic between the Marche and Abruzzo (7 instances), the coasts facing Puglia (10 instances) and the Gulf of Taranto (3 instances); 1 application for a cultivation concession in the Gulf of Venice and 20 research permits – for a total of 8,872 sq km – which had been frozen pending approval of the plan and involving the Gulf of Venice (7 permits), the Strait of Sicily (4), the coasts facing Puglia (4), Calabria (4) and the Adriatic facing the Ancona coast.

For the mainland, the associations recall, instead: 56 applications (of which 50 for research permits) for 11,483 sq km which will resume the administrative process and which concern Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Molise and Puglia. On the other hand, there are 43 research permits for 14,473 sq km and which involve not only the previous regions but also Piedmont, Sicily, Veneto and Marche.

The history of ‘Pitesai’ is troubled from the very beginning. It was born from a confrontation between Lega and Cinquestelle under the first Conte government in 2018. It was instituted by a decree of December of that year, which provides for its approval within 18 months. Then the extensions, the latest last February. “Without a new decree extending the suspension, activities will resume”, the constitutionalist Enzo Di Salvatore, author of the referendum questions ‘No triv’ tells us disheartened.

The Greens Angelo Bonelli and MEP Eleonora Evi accuse Cingolani of “scientific strategy” because “he expired the legal deadline set for September 30, by which the general planning tool for hydrocarbon extraction, the Pitesai, had to be approved. “And” as of today, the oil exploration permits that were suspended with the moratorium decided with paragraph 8 of article 11 ter of law 12 of 2019 will take effect again “. “We cannot say many beautiful words in defense of the environment and then disregard concrete and fundamental commitments that are within our reach and depend on our will. Failure to approve the Pitesai (Sustainable Energy Transition Plan for Eligible Areas) within the deadline, risks restarting drilling in the time gap that has now arisen while the plan must be discussed with the regions “, says Nicola Oddati of the leadership of the Pd.

“We have the clear impression that someone wanted to bluff to put everyone in front of the fait accompli – comment Greenpeace Italy, Legambiente and WWF Italy – As we denounced in our Observations sent on September 13 at the end of the 60 days allowed for consultation, the proposal di Pitesai, presented with great delay in Strategic Environmental Assessment (Vas, ed.) on July 15, is an empty box, hardly a ‘policy document’ without any serious commitment, consistent with the decarbonization target for 2050 agreed with Europe and therefore with the need to indicate a mandatory deadline for the termination of any concession and for the progressive disposal of platforms in Italy. It was therefore not materially possible that the Plan could be integrated and adopted, in the 16 days following the closing on 14/9 of the consultations for the Vas. We find it singular that no one in the ministry was alarmed given that, after the reorganization of the ministries last March, both the management that drafted the plan proposal and the one that has to evaluate it coexist in this department ”.

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