Algarve says NO to gas and oil drilling.jpg

Government blocks Algarve oil and gas drilling

Four down, 11 to go! Anti-oil campaigners got an early Christmas present this week with news that the government is finally listening to them: the controversial licenses covering 14 of the region’s 16 boroughs have been ‘torn up’, and two of the four Partex/ Repsol contracts for offshore blocks on the south coast have been halted with a view to rescission for non-compliance. That still leaves Galp/ ENI with its plans for the West Coast intact, and thus the fight continues. But with pressure groups attacking from all sides, this is definitely taking on the proportions of another Algarve ‘people’s victory’.

Said Laurinda Seabra, stalwart campaigner and CEO of ASMAA – one of the most vociferous anti-groups – “five years of fighting is finally getting some great results”.

She warned nonetheless that this is just one small victory in a major war: “Although I am deeply moved and grateful for the the announcement in Diário de Notícias early this morning, I am also very concerned with the details that we are not being given”.

“What this decision by the government tells me is that it wants to appear to back off, probably due to fears of negative impacts in the upcoming municipal elections, but there is nothing to stop it issuing new concession tenders, or signing new contracts in the future.

“This doesn’t mean the fight is over”, she told us. “It is just a step in the right direction”.

For a full account of this story see our paper edition, out tomorrow.

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