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An urgent appeal has been posted by leading anti-oil and gas organisation, ASMAA, which asks all Catholics, there are around eight million in Portugal, to write to their MPs and government, and come to a demonstration in Lisbon.

A demonstration already was scheduled for the 21 December in front of Assembleia da República, Portugal's Parliament building. This was planned to coincide with a debate on one of ASMAA’s petitions objecting to deep offshore drilling.

The realisation that one of the onshore oil and gas exploration concession blocks covers one of the most important Catholic shrines in the world - the Sanctuary of Fátima which attracts between five million and six million visitors a year - has led ASMAA to call on Catholics worldwide to protest at the potential incursion of an oil and gas business into hallowed ground.

The association has been leading the fight against oil and gas exploration in Portugal, a commercial activity sanctioned and encouraged by government despite Portugal’s enviable renewable energy potential and CO2 reduction agreements.

In terms of the ‘open government’ the current administration is keen to promote, the oil and gas concessions and licensing procedures deliberately have been shrouded in secrecy, misinformation and duplicity. Now, with the possibility of fracking a very real one, despite the technology’s track record of poisoning water supplies and triggering earth tremors, ASMAA is exhorting the government to scrap all the offshore and onshore concession areas and scrap the exploration-to-extraction licences already issued.

Laurinda Seabra, ASMAA’s driving force, writes that her team checked and re-checked the coordinates for the exploration area signed over to Australis, “but the result was always the same - in its centenary year, the Sanctuary of Fátima is in an oil and gas exploration zone.”

The concession area was licensed to Australis Oil and Gas Portugal on 30 September, 2015 - days before the general election that saw the Passos Coelho right wing coalition out of office and the new, bright, transparent Socialist Party gain control in an election platform that included promises of developing renewable energy sources and moving away from dependence on oil and gas.

The government’s PR strategy has been to promote the idea that by having oil pumped from domestic offshore and onshore wells for processing, the country will be spending less on hydrocarbon energy supplies. The only potential national benefit is to the taxman, but the royalty agreements have been criticised as poor value for the taxpayer with low percentages and ‘after all exploration costs are covered’ clauses.

The dis-benefits, argues the environmental lobby, are legion, very real and potentially catastrophic with Portugal’s coastal economy now largely dependent on tourism which requires clean air, peaceful countryside, pristine beaches and zero oil spillage.

The Catholic angle may prove to be a trump card for the environmental protest group and it will be interesting to see how the government responds to the obvious blunder of having allowed an internationally significant Catholic shrine to become the focus for a protest movement dedicated to spreading the word. 

Back-up from a Catholic luminary comes by way of comments from Sr. Mary Cunningham who in 2011 wrote about the dangers of fracking.

“While the economic, scientific, legal and medical aspects of fracking call for careful investigation, discerning Catholic Christians are called to address the ethical questions raised by fracking ... Catholic Social Teaching reminds us that “Care for the earth . . . is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored”... Across the world, Bishops “ask the members of our Church to examine our life-styles, behaviours, and policies, individually and institutionally – to see how we contribute to the destruction or neglect of the environment and how we might assist in its protection and restoration . . .”

Catholics are expected to agree wholeheartedly with Sr. Mary Cunningham. With Fátima now requiring protection, the very earthly process of oil and exploration and gas extraction now has tripped into the realm of the spiritual.

For 'Fracking: pros and cons,' by Sr. Mary Cunningham, see: https://stmichaelcanton.org/165

 

ASMAADemoPosterDec2017

 

ASMAAOILBLOCDec2017

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Comments  

0 #10 nogin the nog 2017-12-04 20:31
hmm.
Capitalists with ethics just don't exist.
+1 #9 Ed 2017-12-04 09:51
Quoting Daniel Boone:
confirmaram com a freira se o que ela disse em 2011 corresponde ao que pensa hoje? levram os papeis da austarlis que diz que nao vao fazer frac? porque espalhar o medo. nao sao mais nada que um bando de extremistas que aliam religiao ao medo.


Spreading a dose of reality, more like, and people have reason to to fear the unholy alliance between oil companies and government. Few believe what government or oil companies say in this matter as duplicity and lying has been part and parcel of this sorry business with ENMC acting like an extension of the oil industry.
Australis has to apply to use Fracking if ground conditions require with permission deemed to be granted if there is no response within 30 days. The views expressed by Sr Cunningham remains as valid now as when they were issued, her activism has continued as an example to all of those concerned with the environment in which we live and which we will hand on to the next generation which already has spotted the mess we are making.
+1 #8 TT 2017-12-04 09:26
This looks like another case of experienced big business negotiators riding rough-shod over inept government ministers.
0 #7 Daniel Boone 2017-12-04 00:18
confirmaram com a freira se o que ela disse em 2011 corresponde ao que pensa hoje? levram os papeis da austarlis que diz que nao vao fazer frac? porque espalhar o medo. nao sao mais nada que um bando de extremistas que aliam religiao ao medo.
-1 #6 Ed 2017-12-03 23:59
Quoting Daniel Boone:
O texto e uma copia integral de um outro dos residentes extrangeiros no Algarve. E ambos um copy paste de um artigo da ASMAA. Por isso, volto a perguntar, jornal ( que nao investiga nada) ou central de copy-paste.

Quoting Daniel Boone:
O texto e uma copia integral de um outro dos residentes extrangeiros no Algarve. E ambos um copy paste de um artigo da ASMAA. Por isso, volto a perguntar, jornal ( que nao investiga nada) ou central de copy-paste.

Quoting Daniel Boone:
O texto e uma copia integral de um outro dos residentes extrangeiros no Algarve. E ambos um copy paste de um artigo da ASMAA. Por isso, volto a perguntar, jornal ( que nao investiga nada) ou central de copy-paste.
the news story obviously is derived from the ASMAA press release. Although it contains quotes from the Catholic Chuch source, it can not be described as a cut and paste item as a direct copy would read differently.
-1 #5 Daniel Boone 2017-12-03 23:34
O texto e uma copia integral de um outro dos residentes extrangeiros no Algarve. E ambos um copy paste de um artigo da ASMAA. Por isso, volto a perguntar, jornal ( que nao investiga nada) ou central de copy-paste.
-1 #4 Ed 2017-12-03 16:35
Quoting Daniel Boone:
Vocês são um jornal ou uma central de copy paste?

Your comment needs further explanation. The text within inverted commas obviously are quotes from other people.

Which sections are you suggesting are lifted from other coverage of this subject?
-2 #3 Daniel Boone 2017-12-03 16:24
Vocês são um jornal ou uma central de copy paste?
0 #2 Jack Reacher 2017-12-03 15:54
Is that a good or a bad thing?
0 #1 Roger Sundberg 2017-12-03 15:04
The sun is clean! And dont destroy the earth

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