Quite abruptly, the materials used by Petroldragon for the production of fuel oil from secondary materials were declared by Italian law to be waste matter; as a consequence, Petroldragon’s operations, which had no permits or licenses for waste treatment, came to be considered illegal activities; the same applied to Petroldragon’s final products, previously considered fuel oil, and now labeled as waste. As a consequence, Omar refinery’s supply of raw material was cut off; and, considering that Omar also lacked the authorization to process waste, that company was considered outlawed as well.
Even more so, all of Omar’s production – which had previously consisted of marketable finished products, subject to excise – was declared to be waste; as a consequence, all those clients who had previously bought those products and stocked them in their warehouses and plants were now found to be storing waste. Of course, in order to treat or store waste, an authorization was now required, which the clients obviously did not have, and so all of Omar and Petroldragon’s clients were seen as involved in illegal activities.
Accordingly, Petroldragon, Omar and all their clients were were served warrants of seizure.
For clients, seizure was lifted only after they made a commitment not to buy any products derived from Omar and Petroldragon’s processing plants.
The negative impact of these developments was felt immediately: all banks and credit institutions Andrea Rossi had been dealing with cut off their cash flow. This fact, added to the ban on buying anything from his companies imposed on former clients, brought about the total and immediate interruption of any form of revenue. All bank credits and production orders were canceled.
The administrative situation of the group was disastrous. Andrea Rossi was arrested. From prison he could no longer do anything to save his companies; moreover, a huge media campaign was irreversibly destroying both his image, and those of Omar and Petroldragon. Two brand names (the value of which had previously been estimated at 50 billion lire and had been growing exponentially), which had given work to 150 employees, were suddenly worth nothing.
There is no need to describe Rossi’s state of mind: overwhelmed by multiple warrants, and locked up in the country’s prisons, he watched as daily TV programs ridiculed both his person and his work of many years. Outside, public demonstrations were being held against his Omar and Petroldragon plants, where production had been permanently canceled, and large quantities of raw materials, ready to be processed into fuel oil and other products, had become graveyards for thousands of tons of toxic waste.
Andrea Rossi had no way speak up and tell the world that, yes, he had been stocking waste, and lots of it, but that it was not being stored for the purpose of perpetrating fraud against the environment and the community; that he had not been crazily hoarding toxic products to set up a phony waste-disposal operation. In short: (1) those materials were there waiting to be reprocessed and transformed, and (2) the quantities were justified by customer demand. A demand which confirmed that the market had reached a favorable opinion on the quality of his work, and, most important, that people had finally overcome their bias with respect to this “magical product”, a bias which Andrea Rossi had finally been able to break down through years of work, overcoming insult, humiliation, and hostility.
Food for thought: shut down any refinery today, and what do you get: a huge container of toxic waste, this being the nature of material waiting to be processed if no production line is operative.
Even a car’s fuel tank, if left abandoned, is simply a container full of toxic waste, because the gasoline it contains is no longer part of the production process that powers the vehicle. Having become useless for that process, it is now waste matter, and a toxic and dangerous one at that, such being the chemical characteristics of gasoline.