It is with disbelief and outrage that we heard on Tuesday (May 15th 2018) about the decision of the Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA) that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is not necessary regarding the Offshore oil drilling Project near Aljezur on the southwestern coast of Portugal.
All of the information that argued in favour of an EIA was consecutively and persistently ignored and discarded. Claiming "public interest" although contrary to the position of local communities, representatives, associations and environmental platforms, Portugal has given the green light to the private companies of Eni and Galp to start the exploratory drilling between the 15th of September 2018 and 15th of January 2019. We recall that this situation is not recent: despite the fourty-two thousand objections raised by citizens in the Public Consultation the survey off the southwestern coast, the Government issued an Oil and/or Gas Exploration Title (TUPEM) in a region of high seismic activity and precious marine biodiversity.
By ignoring the majority and the scientific evidence, and underestimating the risk of such an activity (for example, the devastating impacts which ocurred with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill accident in the Gulf of Mexico), the portuguese atlantic coastline and marine ecosystems continue to be in danger.
For those who participated in and/or shared the public consultation, we thank you.
For now, PALP has the "providencia cautelar" (court injunction), which the Ministeries of the Sea and of the Economy removed the suspensive effect. PALP will continue to insist on obtaining answers and clarifications (which we have the right to know, for example access to public documents) about this process that threatens the Algarve region and its activities, health and experiences! We hope you will continue to support these and other initiatives.
The aim is to complete the final closure of this chapter of fossil fuel exploitation in Portugal (cancel all existing contracts and prevent new contracts!), to stand up against and defend the environmental, social, economic and cultural heritage and values.
Please feel free to contact us for and with any ideas that may help our fight and protect the integrity of a healthy, inclusive, fair and sustainable environment.
For more detailed information you may read the latest press release (in English, dated 17th of may) which may be found HERE.
APA´s response (in Portuguese), see “Parecer sobre a sujeição a Avaliação de Impacte Ambiental (AIA)” https://www.apambiente.pt/_zdata/DESTAQUES/2018/Santola1X/Santola1x_Parecer_APA_Eni_16.05.2018.pdf and “Apreciação Prévia De Sujeição A Procedimento De Avaliação De Impacte Ambiental Sondagem De Pesquisa Santola 1X” https://www.apambiente.pt/_zdata/DESTAQUES/2018/Santola1X/RCP_DCOM_EnqAIA704_Santola_1X.pdf