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Algarve MPs accuse government of ignoring public opinion over oil exploration

oilgungeThe Algarve’s two Social Democrat MPs, José Carlos Barros and Cristóvão Norte, have accused the government of "lack of transparency" in the process that has led to its approval of oil drilling off the Aljezur coastline in the western Algarve.

In January of this year, under a contract signed in February 2007, the concession for exploration, research, development and production of oil for the Santola area off Aljezur was approved.

According to the MPs, this process is "a regrettable example of a lack of information and lack of transparency", culminating in the "lack of communication of the results of a public consultation process" in which more than 2,500 individual petitions were collected and over 42,000 anti-oil signatures were gathered and submitted to government.

"In December 2016, the idea was expressed that the government had rescinded the (Portfuel) onshore drilling contracts in the Algarve, and less than a month later, drilling was authorised without taking into account the results of the public consultation," say the two MPs.

Recalling that the Socialist Party adopted a draft resolution that recommended "the opposite" of what the government actually has been doing," the MPs say that the Socialist Party’s position "has been seen as impeding the serious and transparent discussion which this matter demands."