Algarve councils ‘legal-up’ over oil exploration

In the face of zero-response from the government to unanimous calls to rescind oil and gas exploration contracts in the Algarve, the region’s mayors have decided to ‘legal-up’ and pursue their cause through the courts.

The decision, made earlier this week, has been followed by a statement to the press entitled “AMAL advances with measure to block oil and natural gas exploration in the Algarve”.

AMAL (the association of the Algarve’s 16 borough councils) is strongly critical of the lack of the response to their meeting at the end of January with Secretary of State for Energy Jorge Segura Sanches.

As the statement reads, at the time, AMAL’s determination to seek embargoes over on and offshore exploration contracts signed by the last government was made clear, and Sanches “promised” to analyse them – which AMAL claims it took to mean would see the deals “unproposed”, ie thrown out.

The mayors reinforced their position by demanding the “immediate stop” of all exploration plans, and waited to hear back from Sanches.

Now, weeks after the meeting, there has still been no news, and elsewhere the government has made it quite clear it intends to honour contracts already signed (click here).

Thus AMAL’s latest rabble-rousing, vowing the Algarve’s determination to “vest itself of all legal means that will help revert the processes underway bearing in mind the grave consequences they could bring, putting the quality of life and economy, especially tourism, at risk”.

Stressing the apparent “running out of dialogue” with central powers, AMAL’s president Jorge Botelho has told reporters: “We want to block contracts already signed before they become a reality on the ground”.

AMAL’s statement concludes that it will take “all actions necessary” to do this.

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