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Environment Impact Assessment "not needed" - oil drilling to go ahead off Aljezur

OilReferendumSMALLIn a shocking example of the government’s continuing refusal to listen to its electorate, while supporting its cherished energy companies, the Portuguese Environmental Agency announced this afternoon that the highly controversial Aljezur test-well, in an area already licenced to oil consortium Galp-ENI, will not be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment and hence drilling can go ahead later this year or early next.

Mysteriously, the Portuguese Environment Agency failed to identify "significant negative environmental impacts" in the test well project in the Alentejo basin, 46 kms off Aljezur in protected waters, and therefore has decided that no environmental impact analysis is necessary - the drilling can go ahead anytime between September 15th and January 15th, 2019.

"The project is not likely to have significant negative impacts," claimed a straight-faced Nuno Lacasta, president of the misnamed agency, on Wednesday, May 16, "This project does not require an environmental impact assessment, according to the law."

Nuno Lacasta said that opinions were requested from nine entities, including maritime authorities, and the National Entity for the Fuel Market (ENMC) which was hardly likely to disagree as it has been aiding and abetting the oil companies from Day 1.

All of Algarve’s Councils and several of those along the Alentejo coastline, plus dedicated environmental movements, business organisations and the Algarve’s regional tourist board, all are in total opposition to the search for oil off the Alentejo coast - as are the signatories to a record-breaking public petition of over 40,000 names - all have been ignored, sidelined, stonewalled and dismissed as inconvenient.

Well-reasoned public opposition has been shoved aside by an administration whose duplicity has been as astonishing as its star-struck teenage love affair with the oil and gas companies whose ability to 'influence' is long proven and insidious.        

The Algarve region has one industry - tourism - which currently supplies well over 40% of the nation’s tourism-related tax income to the Treasury.

The environmental lobby and business community point out that engaging in oil exploration and extraction, risks harming the Algarve and Alentejo’s undoubted tourism success.

The obvious danger of oil spills harming tourism and wildlife, Portugal’s signature on international CO2 reduction agreements, the rapid development of Portugal as a renewable energy developer and generator, the toxic chemicals used in drilling, the underwater noise that dispels marine life and the lousy royalty deal the Treasury has been signed up for, should there be oil and gas in recoverable quantities, all should have led to a big ‘No’ when it came to authorising exploration.

Galp, famous for Galpgate and 'entertaining'  politicians and civil servants, and ENI, the deeply corrupt oil company owned by the Italian State, cannot be said to form a sound and confidence-boosting partnership. 

Despite the uproar of adverse opinion from those potentially affected, and the fact the original oil exploration deal was signed off by a former Energy Minister who now is being indicted for corruption involving millions in backhanders, the government again has ignored the will of those that its legislation directly affects.

It is "inadmissible," agree the anti-oil organisations, that no environmental impact study needs to be carried out before progressing with the oil drilling as, if there is no assessment needed for this highly industrial and damaging process, what, say the environmental lobby, are environmental impact assessments actually for?

Legal retaliation is expected from anti-oil organisation, ASMAA, alonside further opinions from ZERO, MALP and PALP as well as the Algarve mayors' group AMAL and business associations.

This shameful abuse of power by António Costa’s government makes it clearer that the links between the energy companies and politicians are as strong as they are covert.

A second press conference has been called for this evening by the Secretary of State for Energy, Environmental Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister at whhg  which the government will explain  why the drilling is to go ahead.

 

 

OilDrillinBoat

Comments  

0 #24 Denby 2018-05-20 18:29
Lionel,
It would be advantageous to to explain what you mean by "Portugal is so rotting in corruption". I am aware that there has been dodgy dealings by some politicians but these people are under investigation at the moment or are going through the Courts at present.
What more can the Judicial system do, they appear to have this under control to a greater or lesser extent.
There is corruption in most countries and where there is money and power, You will find people who want to exploit this. But you cannot refer to the good people of Portugal as "Rotting in corruption".
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0 #23 Lionel 2018-05-20 08:13
Quoting Darcy:
Ok Jack Reacher,
Again, You choose to use your same old rhetoric, everything that is of Portugal is not good and everything that is Britain is very good.
I think the reader's get the picture ! !
Sadly, Portugal is so rotting in corruption at every level that there is no way back and as long as those in authority have their hands in the till, the public's protests will continue to fall on corrupt deaf ears!
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-2 #22 Darcy 2018-05-19 16:08
Ok Jack Reacher,
Again, You choose to use your same old rhetoric, everything that is of Portugal is not good and everything that is Britain is very good.
I think the reader's get the picture ! !
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+1 #21 rigger 2018-05-18 18:09
The EIS if done would be the same as hundreds of others. It only covers the drilling of the well not the global impact of burning HC's. There are hundreds, even thousands, of oil wells drilled each year. H&S is a huge matter for the rig operators and the oil companies. No EIS/EIA is not a big deal.
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+4 #20 AL 2018-05-18 10:35
This is a very stupid decision by the Portuguese government, obviously driven by greed from ministers involved in this decision. The fact that these contracts will bring very little benefit to Portugal is criminal to say the least.
But stupid decisions by governments driven by greed is not exclusive to Portugal. The Tory government is at the moment fast tracking the destruction of England's country side by "streamlining and improving the regulation process for fracking planning applications". Reading between the lines it means it will ignore very strong opposition to hydraulic fracturing and in some cases for exploration wells to be done without planning permission.
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+2 #19 Jack Reacher 2018-05-18 08:23
Quoting Darcy:
TT,
Referring to your comment (number 5) where you made derogatory remarks about the entire Portuguese Government and the opposition parties.
You also stated that oil fields in the UK are well managed with strict H&S standards.
Can I remind you that the North sea oil fields of the coast of Scotland have been in operation for the past 50 years, so you are correct in saying that they are well managed.
I Would suggest, that if oil reserves are found in Portugal, that the same overall expertise will be applied to these sites ?

None of us share any of your optimism. This is Portugal we are dealing with..completely unprepared for any industrial accident or calamitious environmental destruction. Look how localised River Tejo pollution incidents are dealt with let alone pan nation forest fires. Enough molly coddling the offshore drilling ship and think of the long term ramifications when it all goes wrong.
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-14 #18 Darcy 2018-05-17 18:37
TT,
Referring to your comment (number 5) where you made derogatory remarks about the entire Portuguese Government and the opposition parties.
You also stated that oil fields in the UK are well managed with strict H&S standards.
Can I remind you that the North sea oil fields of the coast of Scotland have been in operation for the past 50 years, so you are correct in saying that they are well managed.
I Would suggest, that if oil reserves are found in Portugal, that the same overall expertise will be applied to these sites ?
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+2 #17 dw 2018-05-17 15:34
Given that burning fossil fuel is directly linked to the global warming and will accelerate the already occuring mass extinction of life on the planet, how can it be argued that there will be no "significant negative environmental impacts"? Or is his argument that it's too late to stop runaway catastrophic climate breakdown so we may as well carry on as normal?
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+4 #16 Verjinie 2018-05-17 11:49
Thank you, yet again, Ed for your clarity and insight. Sadly, though, none of the commentators have referred to the extraordinary risk of EARTHQUAKES in the drilling regions...
:eek:
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+6 #15 Poor Portugesa 2018-05-17 11:46
Again, as ever, WELL SAID, Ed! You have put our case admirably, without political slur and stuck to the, unpallatable, FACTS. I wish YOU were in our Parliament! Your are our best 'minder'. Keep up the excellent work! OBRIGADINHO, MUITO! :-* :cry:
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