15 Jun

Report: Protests against the oil drillings off the Canary Islands

Ölbohrungen1Berlin, June 2014.

Summarized by Volker Boehlke based on articles by „Ecologistas en Acción“, translated by Pia Ditscher.

On June, 5th 2014 the international „Day of environment“, five big nature conservation associations (Amigos de la tierra, Ecologistas en Acción, Greenpeace, SEO/BirdLife and WWF) came together in Madrid to point out the problems resulting from oil drillings. The protest was induced by the decision of the Minister for the Environment to permit the oil drillings off the Canary Islands. With their protest the organisations want to support the planned demonstrations at the Canaries and all over the country for the following weekend.

A lot of attendance in the protests

Proteste gegen Ölbohrungen vor den Kanaren

Numbers of participants in the demonstrations on June, 7th 2014:

• 35.000 people on Lanzarote.
• 25.000 people on Fuerteventura.
• More than150 people on La Graciosa.
• 1.000 people on La Gomera.
• 1.600 people on La Palma.
• 300 people on El Hierro.
• 65.000 people on Tenerife.
• 80.000 people on Gran Canaria.

To clarify, most inhabitants of the Canary Islands are on the same side concerning this issue. That is also due to the critical fact that this permit has been given right after the elections. Furthermore, the assessment of environmental effects doesn´t match even minimal requirements. The Supreme Court has been asked to grant the objections of the environmental associations. Furthermore, the government has been asked to respect the public opinion.
As a reply to the assessment of environmental effects presented by the stake holder Repsol, the Ministry of the Environment published a study called „Declaración de impacto“ as well, which is the base for the government’s decision. This study is highly criticized since the ministry estimates the risk of an oil spill a hundred times lower than the calculation of a public survey centre has revealed.


What next?

After the approval of the royal decree (which allows the oil drillings) by the Spanish supreme court, Ecologistas en Acción announces further protests. More inconsistencies will be revealed and reported. The Canarian government will be pushed to execute a referendum (popular vote).

In the last meeting of BEN MAGEC on Tenerife, advocate Javier Díaz Reixa described the situation after the rejection of the remonstrance against the royal decree: In his opinion, the hope to stop the oil drillings lies in politics: Thus, the peoples‘ protests are the best and most effective form of pressure to stop the oil drilling. So the next steps are 1) exemplifications of an oil spill at the beach of Las Teresitas and other beaches, 2) a „balconada“, where people will put banners against the drillings on their balconies to express their opinion.

A survey published by „Europapress“ already shows a clear result after one day: 85,44% of interviewed persons were against the oil drillings, because they are an obvious threat for the environment. In contrast, 14,56 % think that the oil drillings can be an enrichment in the energetical development. By the way, stakeholder of the Repsol-project is RWE DEA (with 20%). RWE DEA already wanted to withdraw from the project in past years.




Pictures: Ecologistas en Acción – Demonstranten am 7. Juni 2014