Run by a subsidiary of major Italian energy firm ENI, the incinerator is one of the main waste facilities in Tuscany, with a capacity of 120,000 tonnes per year and producing 113m kilowatt hours of electricity annually. Its sequestration and sealing off by police on 30 November marked the culmination of a bitter five-year wrangle between operator Ambiente and local environmental and citizens' groups.
Grassroots groups, the Greens, WWF, the Refounded Communists and the Left Democrats had all questioned the legality of the site and were lobbying for it to be closed.
Italian industry minister Enrico Letta had always been more circumspect, and the prospect of the incinerator's closure had met with fierce opposition from unions and workers. One argument made in favour of the plant was that it provided 120 jobs in the locality. Another was that it provided a much needed alternative to waste landfilling.
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