Magazine article New Internationalist

Puglia Obstructs 'Europe's Keystone'

Magazine article New Internationalist

Puglia Obstructs 'Europe's Keystone'

Article excerpt

Protests in southern Italy have delayed plans for construction of a vast natural-gas pipeline into Europe.

Residents of the Puglia region of southern Italy have long campaigned against Italy's section of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline or TAP (featured in Agenda, NI 496), a controversial megaproject that has been dubbed 'Europe's own Keystone XL'.

Campaigners say the $40-billion pipeline will lock European countries into fossil-fuel use for decades. Italians have other pressing concerns. They fear that their section of the 3,500-kilometre long pipeline - which stretches from Azerbaijan and enters Europe via the seaside town of San Foca - will cause significant damage to the landscape and coastline, and the loss of livelihoods.

The village of Melendugno has become a flashpoint. In March, workmen started to remove ancient olive trees in order to construct the pipeline, without permits having been issued for the work to begin. When hundreds gathered at the site to resist construction peacefully, the Italian government sent police to enforce the uprooting and removal of the trees.

In response, residents quickly organized public meetings that drew crowds of thousands. Protests started to make national headlines and international news. Over the course of the month, among sit-ins, barricades, last-minute court orders and appeals, close to 200 trees were removed. …

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