The Algarve mayors’ group, AMAL, today joined the unhappy throng and issued a statement reiterating, "its position against any oil or gas exploration activities in the Algarve and off the Algarve coastline."
Support for the drilling licence awarded to the Galp-ENI consortium on January 11th, which came to light only last Friday as the announcement had been cunningly concealed on a little-watched government website, is close to non-existent in the region.
AMAL, business groups, environmental organisations and the public firmly are positioned against turning the Algarve and Alentejo sea areas into oil and gas producing zones.
AMAL says the government’s hydrocarbons initiative, "has no support in the region, and the municipalities of the Algarve will continue their political and legal struggle."
The mayors' group lodged a court action last July against planned oil exploration but this has yet to be settled and the latest shock announcement that a drilling licence has been issued has led AMAL to question the circumstances under which this was granted.
The mayors point out that over 42,000 people signed a petition against oil and gas exploration in the Algarve. Added to this is the pending court action and the mayors are as unhappy as everyone else and stated today that the government should not have issued the licence - on environmental and tourism grounds alone.
As the government has refused to reply to the petition, the mayors state that 'the councils and their constituents, having received no response to their contributions and objections given during public consultation period, feel disrespected and ignored.”
AMAL “urges the government immediately to terminate the contract to drill off the coast of Aljezur.”
The statement from the Algarve mayors’ group joins similar ones recently issued from PALP, MALP, ASMAA, The Left Bloc and the Algarve’s Tourist Board.