MALP socks it to Minister of Sea and Environment boss who claims oil exploration is “perfectly normal”

Joining the bandwagon of outrage over the calibre of key ministers in Portugal, anti-oil group MALP is calling for the dismissal today of the ministers of the Sea and of the Environment.

One of the first Portuguese movements set up to tackle plans the oil and gas lobby MALP is outraged over the Minister of the Sea’s shambolic attempts to sell rights to potential gas and oil reserves off the coast in the US last year before the statutory process of public consultation had been concluded, let alone put up for parliamentary debate (click here).

But the group’s outrage goes beyond the niceties of protocol.

MALP is disgusted that Vitorino told her US audience that antipathy towards hydrocarbon exploration had much to do with illiteracy levels in Portugal, and ignorance.

Indeed, her presentation to potential investors in America last year, presented her own country as being hampered by “massive ignorance”, says the group.

With Vitorino hiding behind ministerial protestations that she was simply quoting from a working document, her colleague in charge of ‘the environment’ has been equally targeted for having distinctly antipathic views for someone placed in his official position.

João Pedro Matos Fernandes told journalists last month that as far as he was concerned, drilling for oil and/ or gas on national territory (land or sea) was something that was “perfectly normal”.

As MALP points out: “Portugal cannot have a minister of the environment who thinks oil exploration on Portuguese territory is normal and a Minister of the Sea who opens public consultation for citizens to decide whether there should be drilling off the coast of Aljezur and then goes behind their backs and starts selling the territory overseas”.

Using damning words like “shameless”, the group means to take advantage of the visit to Faro tomorrow of President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to “demand the immediate suspension of Aljezur’s deep-offshore well attributed to the Galp/ ENI concession”.

The President is due to visit Faro’s Hotel and Tourism school at 9am tomorrow, thus MALP is appealing to “the Algarvian and Alentejan population” to eschew any ideas of a weekend lie-in and turn up in force.

Press note: Elsewhere, anti-oil groups from all over the Alentejo, Algarve and Lisbon area will be meeting in Lisbon later on Saturday. For details, click here.

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