Photo: Greenpeace Launches Cyber Campaign Urging Spain to Ban Coastal Drilling
Greenpeace on Friday launched a cyber campaign to urge Spain’s minister of industry, energy and tourism, Jose Manuel Soria, to ban oil and natural gas drilling in coastal areas.
The group Ecologists in Action, meanwhile, announced that it will call on Spain and Morocco - via an EU-brokered accord - to pledge not to develop hydrocarbon deposits in the seabed between the Canary Islands and continental Africa, saying such a moratorium is needed to protect the region’s rich biodiversity.
The head of Greenpeace’s climate change and energy campaign, Sara Pizzinato, and the local spokeswoman for Ecologists in Action, Esther Fresno, presented the proposals on board the Arctic Sunrise icebreaker, which is anchored at Las Palmas, Canary Islands, after being used in a sustainable fishing campaign off western Africa.
The visit was a show of support for local organizations, institutions and civic movements that oppose Spanish-authorized oil prospecting 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the coasts of the easternmost Canary Islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.
Pizzinato noted that April 20 will mark the two-year anniversary of BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, which unleashed the largest crude spill in U.S. history, and insisted that “we haven’t learned anything.”
Spanish-authorized oil prospecting at depths of up to 3,500 meters (11,475 feet) off the Canary Islands would be very similar to drilling work in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Greenpeace, which says that evidence of the dangers can be seen regularly despite Repsol’s safety assurances,
Oil released in the Deepwater Horizon blowout reached coastal areas 300 kilometers (185 miles) away, and if such a catastrophe occurred off the Canary Islands it would affect the entire archipelago, Pizzinato said.
She also said safety valves are not secure at the depths contemplated in the prospecting plans, and that it would be difficult to respond if a deepwater spill occurred.
Greenpeace also announced it will file an appeal with Spain’s Supreme Court against the government decree authorizing the prospecting.
Referring to the cyber campaign, Pizzinato said concerned individuals can contact Soria by that avenue and urge him to halt all oil and natural gas drilling, redirect the government’s focus to renewable energies, eliminate its moratorium on their use and promote more fuel-efficient vehicles.