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Posted by portugalpress on June 11, 2018

Unless he steps in to halt plans to drill for oil and natural gas off the Algarve/ Alentejan coast, President Marcelo may well have to fly to the moon.

Who says this are the environmentalists trying every tactic in the book to reverse the tide of a government that sees no meaningful risks to the environment in a test drilling exercise 46 kms off the coast of Aljezur.

PALP, the platform of NGOs fighting exploration, recalls how a little over a year ago, on a visit to the Algarve, President Marcelo said the likelihood of finding oil in regional waters was less than his “going to the moon” (click here).

The trouble with all these statements is that Marcelo could have been choosing his words carefully. Oil companies GALP and ENI are believed to be gunning for a rich field of natural gas, not one full of oil.

And PALP’s attempts to show the president up are, in the end, based on a throw-away remark: nothing that could place any relevant spanner in the works.

The platform is trying everything, nonetheless, posting what they believe should have been the president’s speech to the nation on Portugal Day (celebrated on Sunday, June 10) and addressing a formal complaint to the Aarhus Convention - the entity that verifies that States comply with international rules on public participation - on the basis of what it claims was the “farce of public consultation” led by environment agency APA (click here).

As anti-oil protests are planned throughout the summer in the Algarve and Alentejo, Portugal’s equivalent of Banksy has come out in support of the fight, publishing three photos online, under the banner: “Free Algarve from a Disaster”, while a new movement is posting videos online encouraging people to ‘boycott Galp’.

Bordalo II’s images can be seen on Facebook.

The artist writes in English: “I hope that our leaders will be smart enough to understand that a near future profit will have a forever loss. Portugal is a country full of potential for renewable energy, this is the future”.

For a look at the speech that activists believe Marcelo should have given while he was travelling between the Azores and USA, click here

And for a look at the online clips about boycotting Galp and “taking Portugal to heart”, click here