“Happy day” as campaigners hear court accepts bid for drilling embargo

News of a “small victory” for anti-oil campaigners – bringing with it the possibility that drilling plans by the Galp/ ENI concession, off Aljezur’s coast, might once again be blown off course – came today (Wednesday) after “the Portuguese courts accepted the injunction application submitted by Odemira Municipality two weeks ago”, campaign group ASMAA has announced.

Explaining that the “court acknowledged that the submission had valid arguments for acceptance of the application”, the group warns however that it is by no means a given however that an injunction will finally be granted.

“Only the application was accepted”, ASMAA said in a statement.

“We also need to understand that preliminary or temporary injunctions are not conclusive as to the rights of the parties, and they do not determine the merits of a case, or decide issues in controversy”.

But the group that relies entirely on public voluntary funding concedes it is a “happy day”, “a day of celebration” and yet another “small victory”.

“Our fight will only stop when all the oil and gas exploration contracts are rescinded”, it said,

This means all current concession areas – hugging every inch of coastline and going deep offshore from the Spanish border in the Algarve, to the Spanish border beyond Viana do Castelo in the north – “have to be cancelled”, explains ASMAA CEO Laurinda Seabra,

As Seabra has explained in the past, the government cancelling individual contracts is not “on its own enough if concession areas remain open, as we run the risk of new contracts being signed in the future”.

“But for now, we celebrate … if nothing else we bought some time, preventing the drill from going ahead as planned in the next few weeks … another small victory!”

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