Odemira warns it too will go for legal embargo if government insists on hydrocarbon exploration

With the Minister of the Sea whipping off her blonde wig in an apparent attempt to divert attention from paper-thin lies, Odemira is the latest borough council to sign up to what is rapidly becoming an institutional mutiny against government plans to drill for oil and gas up and down the country.

After the Algarve has said a firm “No!” in one resounding voice (and citizens are now so ‘woken up’ to the threat of oil and gas exploration that the passing of a rig bound for Norway last week was tracked via Facebook posts all the way from Albufeira to Sagres), the Alentejo is following right behind.

Presentations have been made in schools, public halls and now ‘local government’ is taking its stands.

Odemira’s mayor José Alberto Guerreiro is living up to his surname (translating as Warrior), telling Jornal Sudoeste (SW) that his council is prepared to “advance with a legal embargo (providência cautelar) to stop oil (and/ or gas) prospection on the Alentejan coast”.

The council met last night (Thursday) and will now be pressuring the government over what have been considered ‘blatant illegalities’ in the drawing up of drilling concessions.

As Guerreiro told SW – echoing concerns in neighbouring Aljezur – for an area bound by so many “restrictions and impositions” as a result of its environmentally-protected status, it makes no sense at all for an entity to be able to come along and “take advantage of a simplified process that puts at risk everything recognised as unique” at risk.

Guerreiro’s stand comes just as anti-oil campaigners MALP and ASMAA are calling for the resignation of Minister of the Sea Ana Paula Vitorino, not only for pre-selling drilling rights ahead of the process of public consultation (click here), but for standing up in parliament and saying contracts signed this far do not sanction ‘exploration’.

This was such a blatant lie that campaigners tell us that they had to pinch themselves to make sure they weren’t dreaming.

Vitorino also raised eyebrows this week by suddenly doing away with the straight blonde wig she has been wearing to hide the effects of chemotherapy and ‘going grey’ and curly.

If it was a move designed to win her supporters, it has not succeeded.

Plans now involve campaigners putting the pressure on local elections coming in October by insisting that all candidates come clean over how they feel about hydrocarbon exploration.

Explained ASMAA CEO Laurinda Seabra: “We’re going to force oil and gas onto the campaign trail by creating a map of municipal election candidates and giving them either red or green cards.

“Green cards will be awarded when candidates in municipalities affected by concessions publicly say they are anti-oil.

“If candidates try playing it safe by dilly-dallying, they will be given a red card.

“Thus it will be easy for voters to see at a glance from the map who is pro-oil and who is supporting the people and standing against”.

At the same time, ASMAA will be re-launching its “Free the Energy” green campaign, designed to ‘give voice to Nature and the Future’.

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