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Algarve mayors rise up against Aljezur oil drilling decision

aljezuroilThe Algarve mayors’ group, AMAL, met on Friday to discuss the Portuguese Environmental Agency’s decision that an environmental impact assessment is not needed for the planned test well off Aljezur.
 
Yesterday's news shocked those in the region who have been campaigning to, at least, see the commission of an assessment of the impact of Galp-ENI drilling for oil just 46 kilometres from the Portuguese coastline in a protected maritime area.
 
AMAL, business associations, individuals and campaign groups all have rejected the reasoning behind APA’s decision which, claims the Environment Agency, was based on the opinions of nine national bodies. Details of these nine reports are being demanded by campaigners and AMAL. 
 
The government followed up on Thursday evening with a statement that all current contracts would go ahead and that no new ones would be authorised in the next 18 months, adding, erroneously, that any oil production would ease the import burden on the Treasury and that, before oil or gas was extracted, there would have to be an Environmental Impact Assessment – the very process it concluded was not needed for the test well.
 
AMAL today stated that all of the Algarve’s Councils are firmly against APA's decision and that, 'it will continue to fight, by judicial means, against this process.’
 
This afternoon’s statement from AMAL reaffirmed that the mayors' group, ‘was, is and will be against the exploration for oil off the Algarve coast and considers that the contract in force should be terminated.’
 
AMAL stated its, “commitment to defend the regional interest, for the citizens and the territory, reaffirming its vehement opposition to the exploration and extraction of oil in the region as polluting and damaging to the quality of life of the entire population, contrary to government and international policies in adapting to climate change.”
 
Drilling for oil, "is an option incompatible with the model of development and affirmation of the Algarve region as a tourist destination, a region that we want clean, using renewable energy and environmentally sustainable, linked to the best energy practices," read the statement
 
AMAL also said the decision taken by the Portuguese Environment Agency, with no opposition from the Government, "is another wrong and incomprehensible decision for the region.”
 
The whole process, according to AMAL, lacks transparency and the decision is “in complete disagreement with the will of the people, their associations and their MPs,” referring to APA’s decision simply to ignore 2,000 objections lodged against the oil programme, sent in during a public consultation phase.
 
AMAL stated that from the outset "it has expressed unanimous and frontal opposition to the exploration and eventual extraction of oil in a region that is the driving force for national tourism accounting for 40% of tourist overnight stays and, consequently, a strong contributor to the country's economic growth," and took a moment to praise the work of the "many associations defending the Algarve's environment."
 
The discreditied Environment Agency has failed in its primary duty to protect the environment and now is confirmed as a government controlled agency working for business interests, not for the protection of the nation's environment. 
 
 
 
AMAL's statement, in Portuguese is as follows:
 
MUNICÍPIOS DO ALGARVE REJEITAM A PROSPEÇÃO DE PETRÓLEO E A PERSISTÊNCIA NO ERRO
 
A AMAL, Comunidade Intermunicipal do Algarve, foi, é e será contra a prospeção de petróleo na costa algarvia, considerando que o contrato ainda em vigor deve ser rescindido.
 
É uma opção incompatível com o modelo de desenvolvimento e de afirmação da região do Algarve como destino turístico e terra de futuro, com uma região
que queremos limpa, utilizadora das energias renováveis e ambientalmente sustentáveis, ligadas às melhores práticas energéticas.
 
A decisão tomada pela Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente (APA), sem oposição do Governo, de não avançar com a avaliação de impacto ambiental (AIA) à
prospeção de petróleo ao largo da costa vicentina é mais uma decisão errada e incompreensível para a região do Algarve e para todos aqueles que consideram que este processo deve estar técnica e cientificamente fundamentado quanto aos riscos e impactos que uma medida de prospeção e exploração de petróleo tem na costa algarvia e na região do Algarve, seja em termos ambientais, seja económicos, num processo com demasiada falta de transparência e em total divergência com o sentido das populações, da diversidade das suas associações e dos seus representantes eleitos.
 
É a própria APA que dispensa o mecanismo de tentar fundamentar tecnicamente um processo de prospeção de petróleo no Algarve, não considerando os
milhares de contributos dados em sede da consulta pública.  Perdeu-se mais uma oportunidade de erradicar um erro. Persiste a ameaça à região.     
 
A AMAL relembra que desde o primeiro momento tem manifestado a unânime e frontal oposição à prospeção e eventual exploração de petróleo numa região
que é o motor do turismo nacional, com mais de 40% das dormidas turísticas nacionais e, consequentemente, garante um forte contributo para o crescimento económico do país. Depois de, numa primeira fase, ter contrariado as ambições e exigências de toda a região algarvia, o ministério do Ambiente, através da Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente, teve agora a possibilidade de contribuir para corrigir um processo que começou mal, por falta de transparência e nas costas dos cidadãos, mas voltou a falhar à defesa do interesse das populações e ao sentido de futuro.
 
A decisão certa e que a AMAL exige é a rescisão imediata da concessão ao largo de Aljezur na Costa Vicentina, como já aconteceu com a rescisão dos dois contratos da costa sul do Algarve, respeitando assim a vontade popular e institucional dos algarvios, e uma solução sintonizada com a vocação da região e a ambição de construirmos em conjunto um país moderno, sustentável e com sentido de futuro.
 
A AMAL saúda o trabalho das muitas associações em defesa do ambiente e da economia do Algarve e de todos aqueles que, por diversas formas, têm dado um contributo e têm sido opositores à prospeção e exploração de petróleo na região algarvia.
 
Só a convergência de vontades e a realização das escolhas adequadas ao modelo de desenvolvimento que pretendemos e ao interesse geral das comunidades poderá ser gerador de soluções de futuro, como está a acontecer em outras áreas e projetos.
 
A AMAL, Comunidade Intermunicipal do Algarve, irá continuar, pela via judicial, a lutar contra este processo e manterá o seu compromisso de defesa do interesse regional, pelos cidadãos e pelo território, reafirmando a oposição veemente à prospeção e exploração de petróleo na região, enquanto energia poluente e danosa para a qualidade de vida de toda a população, contrariando as políticas do país e do mundo na adaptação às alterações climáticas. 
 
Alcoutim, 18 de maio de 2018
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Comments  

0 #1 liveaboard 2018-05-21 07:21
No insurance means no insurance company safety inspectors; they're the strict ones, they would have to pay the financial costs of an error.

A fly-by-night subsidiary company to contract the drilling insulates the principle corporations from any losses.

Probably, nothing will go wrong.
"probably" is insufficient, considering the consequences of a leak.

Of course the oil companies aren't worried at all; there is absolutely no risk, to them.

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