The Save the Canaries movement is focused against oil drilling in the Canary Island, re-launched its petition after the autonomous government of the Canary Islands has asked Madrid a referendum on this issue, amid international dispute between Spain, Morocco and the oil companies involved
A RE-LAUNCHED PETITION!
Save Canaries, also known as No Oil in Canary Islands, is a movement against drilling for oil in the Canaries, authorised by the Spanish government in March 2012. Since the start, the Keeper of the Coast called Wim; has stood up against the project. The fight is now restarted since the referendum proposal to the Council of Ministers by the Head of the Autonomous Government of the Canary Islands. Wim has offered to step into this open breach to re-launch his petition against the project.
A strong petition with many signatures at this time would be very beneficial and assist in the call for a popular consultation with the head of the Spanish government.
Such a project could have disastrous consequences for the environment and tourism, which today is the primary source of income for the Canaries. An incident is a possibility that shouldn’t be over, especially after the management of the Prestige catastrophe and the oil rig in Mexico, where the authorities didn’t seem to know how to operate to stop the outflow of petrol.
These prospections caused a stir in Spain and its autonomous communities. The government of the Canary Islands has openly identified itself as against the project announcing the oil exploration, arguing the threat it has on the environment and tourism. Despite this, the Spanish government has agreed for the prospections to start; according to Mariano Rajoy, head of the Spanish government, “very likely” between July and September of this year.
But the battle for these prospections also seems to be a trial of strength between political parties.
In parallel, 5 February 2014, the President of the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands, José Ramón Bauzá, the Popular Party (current ruling party), opposes any oil exploration in its archipelago, by weighing the risks on the environment and tourism.
This is a statement that didn’t go unnoticed on the Canaries side. These words are echoed by the President of the Canary Islands, the opposition party, and called the Popular Party of the Canaries to follow the example of José Ramón Bauzá, opposing against the prospections proposed for Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. But the head of the Balearic Government seems to limit his remarks only to his archipelago, and some accuse him of adopting double standards.
Is this battle against oil exploration which involves the Popular Party the opposition Party, the government of the Canaries Islands requested, on the 10th February, permission from the Council of Ministers to a hold a referendum with the following question: “Do you agree with the oil exploration, authorised for the multinational company Repsol , off the coast of our island?”
A BATTLE WITHOUT BORDERS
Beyond the referendum, the petition is important to sign up to post a borderless determination against this project which draws attention to the Moroccan side.
When the Spanish Government had agreed to the prospections in the waters near the Canary Islands, Morocco put Spain in its place, by claiming that these waters were not Spanish but Moroccan territory, and that the principle of equidistance was not respected. The waters between Morocco and the Canaries doesn’t appear to have clear legal status. Morocco claims priority over Spain in relation to any overdraft wells. Although Spain is part of the European space, the European Union could not rule on the dispute between Morocco and Spain, those waters lying “beyond the competence” of the EU.
On the Moroccan side, prospections began on January 23, in waters defined “under Moroccan jurisdiction” by Cairn Energy, a company that won the tender to explore the well-known “Cap Juby I”. These prospections are not to the taste of the Canaries Government, who are threatening Morocco that they will go to the European Commission in Brussels to condition economic agreements linking it to Europe in respect of environmental regulations banning oil extraction in these waters. Oil had been discovered but had proved too heavy to be exploited.
For now it seems like the oil wells will be the property of whoever finds them first. The race for oil in the Canaries water has launched, mobilise yourself and sign the petition against oil extraction next to the canaries, before it’s too late!
Alban Derouet, Environmental Editor
Translated by Charlotte Williams