Communities

Meet the People Blocking a New Gas Mega-Pipeline in Southern Italy

Local mothers, teachers, health workers, grandparents and olive farmers are leading a peaceful resistance to protect their land and their community.

Public meeting next to the construction site in San Foca. Credit: Alessandra Tommasi/Global Voices

In southern Italy, local mothers, teachers, health workers, grandparents and olive farmers are leading a peaceful resistance to protect their land and their community from a planned gas mega-pipeline.

Since 13 November, hundreds of police imposed a ‘red zone’ around the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) construction site, prohibiting journalists, citizens and local government officials from accessing the area.

Nevertheless, and despite facing a violent response by the police and individual fines of up to 10,000 euros, the local communities of Melendugno are determined to continue their resistance to stop the construction of the TAP.

Some of the people blocking the project

Valentina is a local artisan who is no longer willing to stand aside as public money is spent for the private gain of multinational companies. She criticises the corruption and criminal interests surrounding the projects.

Anna Maria calls herself a NoTAP grandma, fighting for the good of the land. She is motivated to protect the environment since her nephew suffers from health problems that have been caused by environmental issues.

Simone Dima is the vice mayor of Melendugno. He sees TAP as an unnecessary project that destroys the climate and the local economy, which is based on tourism and agriculture.

Francesco opposes TAP because he wants the land protected. The pipeline and gas receiving terminal is due to be built through a protected area with ancient olive groves, aquifers, pristine forest and a stunning coastline.

Aurora is a young woman who takes action to resist an imposed and unwanted project that the state helps a multinational consortium to build without letting the people have their say and despite local opposition for the past six years, straight from the start of the project.

Sabina resists TAP, which she sees as a useless and dangerous project that threatens her livelihood in tourism in San Foca. She stresses that TAP is not just a local but a European problem that should not go ahead in Salento or anywhere else.

The locals receive increasing support as banks come under international pressure to reject the loans on which the project relies to go ahead. For example, more and more people are calling on the European Investment Bank to pledge against financing TAP to the tune of €1.5 billion.

TAP is part of the European Commission’s energy flagship project Southern Gas Corridor. The EU pushes to massively develop new gas infrastructure even though existing infrastructure is already operating below capacity and despite the fact that an expansion of the gas market is incompatible with the Paris Climate Agreement.

This article is based on content originally published on 350.org part of a partnership with Global Voices.