Environment Minister fails to address anti-oil demonstrators in Faro
Today's anti-oil demonstrators in Faro expected at least the usual platitudes and carefully crafted deceptions from the Minister for the Environment but they ended the day in disappointment as Pedro Matos Fernandes failed to show up.
The minister was scheduled to take part in a discussion at the regional planning and development body, CCDR-Algarve, while also taking the opportunity of celebrating World Environment Day.
If he was at the meeting in Faro, he failed to address demonstrators. If he failed to come to the Algarve, he failed to issue an excuse.
There are calls for Fernandes to resign. The minister stands accused of duplicity of a grand scale as he fully endorses the government’s move towards renewable energy technologies while overseeing and encouraging the beginnings of a Portuguese oil industry, starting with overseeing the highly suspicious authorisation of a test well to be drilled this autumn in the ocean off Aljezur.
This ‘no show’ without notice could be seen as another example of government contempt, as was the scrapping of 2,000 opinions issues to the Portuguese Environment Agency as it decided whether or not to insist the Italian-Dutch oil consortium’s test drilling activities be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment. The Agency decided that no assessment was needed.
The pro-oil government continues to attract electoral black marks in the Algarve due to its arrogant, dismissive attitude to legally expressed opinions from those who do not wish to see any avoidable threats to the southern region’s main industry, tourism.
The antis include business groups, citizens’ movements, the region’s Councils and members of the public, none of whom give any credence at all to the government’s stance that it “only wants to see what reserves are there,” and that somehow by having oil or gas recovered in Portugal’s sea area that somehow this will be cheaper.
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