An update from Laurinda Seabra from ASMAA, the Algarve Surf and Marine Activities Association, whose legal battle continues on behalf of the people against the government and its oil company colleagues:
"There are times, when the demands on my time and on my own personal resources get out of hand. It’s been a heavy and demanding road for past 8 years, but looking back … the past was a walk in the park, now we are really facing some serious financial challenges as we continue to fight our legal battles against the government and the oil companies.
During October we were bombarded with legal opposing arguments to our cases against the drilling in Aljezur offshore from all opposing parties. We were swamped by thousands of legal pages, which tradition carried on into November as well.
The opposing parties are using every argument under the sun they can come up with, most of them being totally out of context (and some even funny if the matter was not so serious), but following two very clear strategies:
- exhaust our financial resources, so that we run out of money to cover the increasing legal costs, and thus force us to stop, and
- buy time so that oil exploration contracts can be extended past their termination dates of 31 January 2019, by claiming “force majeure" (i.e. delays caused by factors outside of their control)
In spite of what many think, the three Galp and ENI contracts are still valid and very much in force, and yes, the chance is that they will get extensions to their contracts - supported by laws and valid legal arguments - for the same amount of time that there’s been delays outside of their control. Meaning that it is in their interest to delay court matters as much as possible using some “stupid and unfounded” arguments and “looking for any possible legal technicality under the sun” – so that they can extend the contracts as long as possible (and if they get them extended past next year’s general elections date, even better in their opinion)
That is the reality whether we like it or not.
But the reality is also that since 2014 we have prevented any drilling from taking place in the Algarve and so far THEY HAVE NOT DRILLED.
But we are at the end of the road as far as the Algarve drilling risk is concerned, which means all that is left for us to do in an endeavour to, once again, try to stop the drilling from going ahead, is to keep on fighting in court.
With multiple court actions, comes an increase in legal and campaign costs.
Currently we have two main actions running in the Loulé High Court against not one body, but multiple with very deep pockets.
Our small team continues to fight against a huge panel of lawyers representing:
Oil companies (Galp-ENI) - 5
Public Ministry - 1
Ministry of Sea & DGRM - 2
Ministry of Environment - 1
Ministry of Economy & ENMC - 2
and the Attorney General (PGR), acting on behalf of government against the people, instead of fighting on the side of the people, as it should.
Nonetheless, in spite of all the challenges, we at ASMAA are deeply thankful that with the help of so many concerned people, people like you, we have reached this stage, but we will continue to depend on all of your goodwill to help ASMAA continue to cover the raising costs of this fight as the legal battles not only continues but escalates.
As a result, we once again need your help with funding this legal action – as ASMAA is once again running on empty.
We were supposed to have put our legal team in funds already last week to cover October’s legal costs, we haven't yet ... as we only managed to raise 310€ in November for our legal battle … here's a breakdown of last month legal costs, just to give you an idea:
15 Oct – 553,50€
19 Oct – 1800,00€
4 Oct – 861,00€
15 Oct – 1230,00€ plus 381,75€ = 1611,75€
Green Slips Income Tax (Legal) = 1206,56€
Total due: 6,032.81€
The reality is that we have to raise 6,032.81€ by no later than Monday the 26 November 2018.
We know it looks like a lot of money. But legal costs are never cheap. But if each and every one of YOU donates even a small amount we will raise the needed funds. We are counting on YOU to help us raise it.
How much should you donate? We leave it to you to decide, based on how important this risk is to you and to your family, as well as what you can spare from your budget. If you can’t assist, its OK, then we request that you ask your circle of friends and family members if they can help with a small donation each.
You can donate via PayPal (including credit card payments): email@example.com or through the donate button on our website
Or via Bank Transfer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for bank details.
Another URGENT issue is the current public consultations for review of Australis proposed environmental impact study for Aljubarrota (Batalha) and Bajouca (Pombal), that is closing next week on Tuesday the 27 November 2018.
We have created a category that provides loads of information and guides on our site about it.
Here’s the link. http://asmaa-algarve.org/en/batalha-pombal
ASMAA President – Operations
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