In what is probably a first in Portugal, the fact that the Prime Minister agreed to meet is in itself a very unusual gesture on the part of any government, but in Portugal it is especially relevant. ASMAA’s management team is truly thankful for having been given that opportunity, and to be able to pose some pertinent questions.
It was also an opportunity to hand over a letter to the Prime Minister with a selection of 30 messages out of a pool of more than 4000 that ASMAA received from Algarve lovers from all over the world, that are concerned with the risks that proposed oil and gas exploration projects brings to the region.
ASMAA was especially grateful with the Prime Minister’s reply to one our questions in which he said “that in his opinion to invest in nature conservation and protection is to invest in the future of the Algarve as that’s where the real riches and true value lie, rather than investing in destructive activities below or above the soil, on land or at sea” …
Indeed, a very nice message that we hope and trust will be followed by action on the part of his government. But only time will tell if it will come to fruition.
Does that mean that we as activists have calmed down and changed our strategies in our fight against oil and gas exploration?
“Not at all, all the gesture indicates is that there is an opportunity that needs to be grabbed with both hands by anti-oil groups to hold more meetings with government representatives, where we can ask and expect valid answers to be given and progress made towards a satisfactory resolution to this very serious threat to the Algarve economy, health and the environment” said Laurinda Seabra, ASMAA’s CEO.
Now, we are waiting to hear what is the outcome of the intervention by the Parliamentary Committee held today with Paulo Carmona from ENMC in which it is expected that he answers some very awkward questions relating to the award of concession contracts to Portfuel for the onshore concessions Tavira and Aljezur on 25 September 2015 by his office.
But in the meantime the fight goes on, both against the oil and gas onshore projects as well as offshore in the Algarve.
Download a copy of our letter to Prime Minister Antonio Costa below in the attachment section