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Algarve Regional Development Council slams oil and gas exploration and offers to support activists

oilprotestfaroIn a major step forward for the anti-oil and anti-gas lobby in the Algarve, the Algarve Regional Development Council has expressed dismay over the government’s oil and gas aspirations for the region and wants to see investment in renewable energy technology, especially solar.

The influential Conselho Regional da Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Algarve (CCDR-Algarve), now chaired by Vítor Aleixo who also is mayor of Loulé, convened on May 19th and today issued a statement expressing its "total opposition to exploration for oil and gas in the Algarve, both on-shore and off-shore."

The Regional Council’s statement read that "it notes and welcomes with satisfaction the strong and growing movement of public opinion against the exploitation of hydrocarbons in the region. A movement that involves social media and private citizens, businesses and business associations, municipalities and their assemblies, political parties of varying hues, and associations in defence of nature and the environment, cultural and local development associations and personalities from the Algarve region.

"All are concerned about the very serious environmental, economic and social consequences that could result from possible exploitation of fuels in the Algarve, on-shore and off-shore."

The Regional Council is convinced that "in environmental terms, gas and oil exploration in the Algarve would be a disaster for the region destroying its brand image and representing an attack on the quality of life of the people," and that "in economic terms it would be an unforgivable historical mistake to undermine, or even worse, damage a reliable economic activity - tourism - which is the main business sector and generates concrete wealth for the region and for the country, for an uncertain hypothesis with limited horizons which is in decline in several continents. Oil and gas also would undermine other economic sectors linked to the extraordinary resources in the Algarve of nature, the land and the sea."

The Regional Council warns, "of the need for continuing public enlightenment and increased action by citizens, movements and associations in the region because, despite the apparent retreat of some positions (by government), there remain ambiguities within the responsible entities and even ambiguous initiatives that aim to quell opposing voices and destabilise the struggle and create irreversible situations and faits accomplis. Make no mistake: no one invests millions in geological research without the prospect of extracting oil or gas."

The Regional Council calls "for continued mobilisation of public opinion and is willing to support initiatives that aim to curb the irresponsible process of exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in the Algarve, on-shore and off-shore."

The Regional Council also stated that it is all for the development of renewable energy, especially using solar, wind and tides which it recognises are the future for energy production while maintaining an environmentally sustainable Algarve, environmental excellence and property."

This is a big step forward with the aim of safeguarding the Algarve from the irresponsibility and duplicity of national government, and from the duplicity of concession holder Portfuel which negotiated the rights to the Algarve's on-shore underground resources against no opposition in a process that currently is being analysed by a parliamentary committee which has yet to be convinced that the process was all above board.

This statement also is a bold move by Vítor Aleixo who, as part of the mayors' group AMAL, already was committed to an anti oil stance. By fronting this clear statement from the CDR-Algarve, a government funded body, he puts himself at odds with stated government policy.

 

 

 

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Comments  

+2 #2 Andre 2016-05-22 07:08
Quoting Peter Booker:
Perhaps he has had the nod from on high, and feels empowered to make this public statement.


Off course! Any doubts? Also keep in mind that there are two groups of PS Management - the Costa group and the Seguro group ...

At the end of the day let's not forget ALL the focus is really on Sousa Cintra's Portfuel ... in spite of saying that they are also against offshore concessions. But only time will tell if they act on it. (offshore)
+3 #1 Peter Booker 2016-05-21 05:42
I cannot tell what sort of influence this cross party body has, but it is highly unusual for a socialist mayor to criticize a socialist government´s policy. Perhaps he has had the nod from on high, and feels empowered to make this public statement.

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