Objection to Deep Offshore Drilling Licence in Aljezur being granted to ENI / Galp

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Exmo. Sr. Presidente da Assembleia da Republica
Exmo. Sr. Primeiro Ministro
Exmo. Sr. Diretor Geral - DGRM Direção-Geral de Recursos Naturais, Segurança e Serviços Maritimos
Exmo. Sr. Diretor da ENMC
Exmo. Sr. Diretor da Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente (APA)

Dear Sirs

We the undersigned strongly object to the fact that the Portuguese Environmental Agency has given the GREEN LIGHT to ENI Portugal bv (acting on behalf of the ENI-Galp consortium) to drill an exploratory well in the area 233 designated “Santola” located in the Alentejo offshore basin without an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment)

Our association, ASMAA Algarve Surf and Marine Activities Association with NIPC 510 381 952 and the undersigned individuals strongly object to above-mentioned  action taken by the Portuguese government based on the following facts:

  • The coastline of the Costa Vicentina and its offshore marine environment is of a high environmental, social and economic value to the Algarve and all its residents and visitors.
  • This specific stretch of coast where the proposed drilling operation is to take place is located in an area that provides important habitat for marine life, migrating whales and other cetaceans.
  • This area of coastline is also a popular tourist draw-card for the Algarve, with the numerous beaches providing a resource for swimming, surfing, sailing and other water based activities that attracts both residents and tourists.
  • It is clear to us that the Algarve community of over 400,000 people have not been adequately considered, as there is a clear lack of consultation by the relevant government authorities.
  • The lack of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) before any offshore drilling operation is deeply concerning to our association and all the undersigned.

We are seriously concerned by the adverse impacts that offshore drilling can have on the environment; that it will not only lead to environmental degradation but also to negative social and economic impacts, as the natural beauty of our coastline is integrally linked with tourism, and is one of the major factors for residents moving to or already living in this area of the Algarve.

The close proximity of the potential area of operation to the coastline is of great concern to all of us, as well as the fact that the visual amenity of the coast may be compromised due to the presence of semi-permanent vessels and associated infrastructure. Furthermore, we know that the local community will not receive any direct benefit from the proposed exploration should this deep offshore drilling proceed.

Our main areas of concern include, but are not limited to:

  1. Lack of information on response to emergency situations, such as a subsea rupture
  2. Air, noise, water and beach pollution
  3. Impacts on rare or protected species
  4. Acoustic affects of seismic testing
  5. Disruption of whale migration due to seismic testing and the presence of semi-permanent vessels and associated infrastructure
  6. Visual impacts of surface infrastructure and activities
  7. Exclusion of recreational and local fishing vessels from exploration zones
  8. Physical damage to the sea floor and important habitats
  9. Release of hydrocarbons from either the sea bed or pipes into the marine and shoreline environment
  10. Changes in pelagic fish ecology and congregation due to the presence of semi permanent vessels and associated infrastructure
  11. Facilitation of noxious or invasive species invasion due to the presence of semi permanent vessels and associated infrastructure
  12. Impact on climate change

In conclusion

ASMAA and the undersigned individual’s request that you take into consideration the environment, social and economic impacts of both the exploration activity and the potential mining activity associated with this drilling operation by ENI planned to take place between September 2018 and January 2019, and that we strongly feel that the above mentioned authorization should be canceled with immediate effect and that no further exploration of offshore resources be allowed.

 



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