Start of the fight : 24/02/2012
Closing date of the file : 06/04/2012
Fight won by : Rémi
Many people were worried about a possible renewal of the oil exploration permit in the Mediterranean Sea. A permit had originally been granted in 2002 to the British company Melrose Resources for an area of 25,000 km2 off the shores of Marseille, and they had been hoping for 15 months that this permit would be extended.
Since 2010, Surfrider has been fighting for a moratorium on all projects for new oil platforms in Europe until new European standards are adopted. As the Rhône Maritime permit became a Keeper of the Coast case, Surfrider mobilised against its renewal and adopted a clear position against drilling platforms. The Keeper and Surfrider Bouches-du-Rhône Chapter organised various initiatives against oil platforms in the Mediterranean Sea. They carried out a ‘port initiative referendum’, where residents of Marseille were asked to give their opinion on the project by holding up a white fish (against) or black fish (for). The result was indisputable; the great majority was against any new oil exploration in the Mediterranean Sea. In cooperation with other associations, we also participated in a public referendum and several gatherings against offshore drilling platforms.
During a State visit to Caen on Friday, the 6th of April, the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy clearly announced his position against all new searches for hydrocarbon resources in the Mediterranean Sea. This declaration was confirmed later on by his campaign spokesperson and Minister for Environment, who maintained that the oil exploration permit for the Mediterranean Sea would not be renewed.
February 2012: Opening of the Keepers of the Coast case opposing the renewal of the oil exploration permit in the Mediterranean Sea.
13th of March 2012: Jacques Beall, Surfrider representative at the Economic, Social, and Environment Council publishes a report entitled "De la gestion préventive des risques environnementaux: la sécurité des plateformes pétrolières en mer" (Preventive Management of Environmental Risks: The Safety of Offshore Oil Rigs).
31st of March 2012: The Keeper of the Coast and the Surfrider Bouches du Rhône Chapter get together with the Collective 'Non aux Hydrocarbures en Mer' (No to Hydrocarbons at Sea) to organise a 'port initiative referendum' in Marseille. How it works: The citizens of Marseille are invited to choose between a white fish (yea) and a black fish (nay). The result is indisputable; the great majority is against any new oil exploration in the Mediterranean Sea.
6th of April 2012: During his visit to Caen, Nicolas Sarkozy makes a clear statement against any search for hydrocarbon sources in the Mediterranean Sea. This declaration is later confirmed by his spokesperson Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet who maintains that the oil exploration permit for the Mediterranean Sea will not be renewed.
7th and 8th of April 2012: Two demonstrations (a long time in the planning) take place, one on land and the other out at sea.
June 2013: The Rhône Maritime Permit is officially withdrawn from the list of permits on the website of the Ministry of the Environment. However, several legal proceedings are still ongoing.
This is hence a happy and encouraging outcome for the Keeper Rémi, the SFE Bouches-du-Rhône Chapter, and for all of the people involved in the opposition!