Judgment suspending oil prospecting off Aljezur was annulled

Central Administrative Court of the South annulled the sentence of the Administrative Court of Loulé

The Central Administrative Court (TCA) of the South annulled the decision of the Administrative Court of Loulé, which suspended the license to prospect for oil off Aljezur. A decision criticized by the Algarve Livre de Petróleo Platform (PALP), which accuses the second instance court of “ignoring the right to the “precautionary principle” provided for in the 2014 Basic Law on the Environment”.

The anti-prospecting and exploration movement for hydrocarbons considers that the agreement "puts the formal before the substantial, despite giving as proven that the drilling operation can cause damage to cetaceans, resulting from noise, and giving as proven that the operation drilling can cause pollution at sea due to the use of chemicals. The TCA, even so, considers that none of this is enough to stop the project».

Reactions to this decision also emerged from specialists in this area, namely Carla Amado Gomes, a professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon and a specialist in Environmental Law.

«I have just learned that TCA-Sul revoked the decision of the judge from Loulé on the suspension of the effectiveness of TUPEM, which would allow the ENI consortium to drill an oil prospecting hole on the Algarve coast. In addition to strongly disagreeing with the TCA regarding the weight of the public interest of "knowledge of the resources", I consider it extraordinary that a higher court does not even know the Law to apply - namely, that the "precautionary principle" is provided for in the Law of 2014 Environmental Bases. It is the environmental jurisprudence that we have…», vented this expert, on her Facebook page.

"This decision not only came to prove that, in fact, this project has impacts but are also ignored, demonstrating that there is still no understanding in Portugal of the Law and the Constitution and of what is in fact understood as public interest", he said by its side, the PALP.

The movement recalled that it has not yet received a response to requests for clarification on the status of contracts that ended on January 31st and the Title of Private Use of Maritime Space (TUPEM), whose term also expired in January.

At the same time, no proof has yet been given of the existence of the office. of the waiver disclosed by the concessionaires and by Minister of Environment and Energy Transition.

These questions become even more pertinent in light of the repeal of the sentence suspending Aljezur's scoop.

Even so, the members of the platform guarantee that this decision “will not discourage all those who have given so much to this cause, it will not shake the conviction that the future is not built on fossil fuels and will not diminish the certainty (and not a mere fear that damage could happen) that this prospecting project is very negative for the Algarve region, for the species that live there or use that area as a transit zone and for the environment in general».

The platform says that, at the moment, it is «considering the options at the legal level, with two actions taking place simultaneously, one against the Ministry of the Sea and the other against the Ministry of Environment, both based on the same facts: the impacts in the region of this hole off Aljezur'.