03/11/2014 05:36 pm ET Updated Mar 11, 2014

Italian Judge Blames Coal Plant For Hundreds Of Deaths, Forces It To Shut Down

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Police in Italy have ordered the coal-fired power plant Vado Ligure, which they say is responsible for 442 deaths, to shutdown. The plant is located in the northern district of Savona.

The Italian news site Rai News reported Tuesday that a judge directed police to take control of the plant, which is owned by Tirreno Power, after finding in favor of prosecutors in the case. Francantonio Granero, Savona's chief prosecutor, had argued that emissions from the plant were responsible for more than 400 premature deaths between 2000 and 2007, and 2,000 cases of heart and lung disease.

"We do not understand the rational for this decision," a Tirreno Power spokesman told Reuters Tuesday.

Tirreno Power called the study on the plant's health effects "biased" in a statement to United Press International last month.