Environment Impact Assessment “not needed” – oil drilling to go ahead off Aljezur
In a shocking example of the government’s continuing refusal to listen to its electorate, while supporting its cherished energy companies, the Portuguese Environmental Agency announced this afternoon that the highly controversial Aljezur test-well, in an area already licenced to oil consortium Galp-ENI, will not be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment and hence drilling can go ahead later this year or early next.
Mysteriously, the Portuguese Environment Agency failed to identify “significant negative environmental impacts” in the test well project in the Alentejo basin, 46 kms off Aljezur in protected waters, and therefore has decided that no environmental impact analysis is necessary – the drilling can go ahead anytime between September 15th and January 15th, 2019.
“The project is not likely to have significant negative impacts,” claimed a straight-faced Nuno Lacasta, president of the misnamed agency, on Wednesday, May 16, “This project does not require an environmental impact assessment, according to the law.”
Nuno Lacasta said that opinions were requested from nine entities, including maritime authorities, and the National Entity for the Fuel Market (ENMC) which was hardly likely to disagree as it has been aiding and abetting the oil companies from Day 1.
All of Algarve’s Councils and several of those along the Alentejo coastline, plus dedicated environmental movements, business organisations and the Algarve’s regional tourist board, all are in total opposition to the search for oil off the Alentejo coast – as are the signatories to a record-breaking public petition of over 40,000 names – all have been ignored, sidelined, stonewalled and dismissed as inconvenient.
Well-reasoned public opposition has been shoved aside by an administration whose duplicity has been as astonishing as its star-struck teenage love affair with the oil and gas companies whose ability to ‘influence’ is long proven and insidious.