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Oil drilling held up by Environmental Impact Assessment

OilAriealShotSmallThe economy minister’s office today stated that the planned oil drilling off the Aljezur coast will not go ahead until the conclusion, publication and public discussion of an environmental impact assessment, that already is underway.
Having asked the question, Communist Party MPs, Paulo Sá and João Ramos were assured that nothing would happen until this report was concluded and discussed.
The environmental impact assessment is being paid for and produced by the Galp-ENI oil consortium which has just had its licence extended for a year to enable it time to conclude the report and sink its first test well, planned for this Spring.
In the clarification, Manuel Caldeira Cabral’s department guaranteed that the government, "has guided all its activities with strict respect for the law and the recommendations of the Assembly of the Republic, including Assembly Resolution 30/2018, which recommends the Government suspends exploration activities in the deep-offshore of the Alentejo basin off Aljezur, until the conclusion, disclosure and public discussion of environmental impact assessments and of other economic activities.”
The Government also said that the recent licence extension was granted 'in accordance with the law' even though local councils objected and whose contributions, "although not binding, were very important, especially with regard to environmental issues."
There was no mention of the 40,000+ signatories to the public petition to scrap oil exploration of the Algarve and Alentejo coastlines. These have been ignored, as have the opinions of the mayors, regional business groups and, last but not least, the regional tourist authority. (HERE)
The environmental impact assessment can be passed by the government without any democratic process – indeed, the oil exploration programme has been pursued with undemocratic dedication by the current government despite a raft of legitimate environmental and economic concerns and despite the royalty agreements with the oil companies unlikely to yield significant sums for the treasury.