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Temporary Victory Against Oil Prospecting

Tuesday March 12, 2013

Temporary Victory Against Oil Prospecting

The Supreme Court has decided to admit the request by the Lanzarote Government to halt plans to prospect for petrol in the coastal waters of both Lanzarote and Fuertevenutura. This judgment is only a temporary measure however and does not mean that the issue has been resolved or that the decision is final. It is merely the next step in the ongoing battle between local authorities and organisations and the petrochemical giant Repsol.

This move has been achieved by the court´s determination to change the criteria under which it will consider the application to stop prospecting by local politicians. The main thrust of the Lanzarote Government´s action is to impede the permissions granted by the Executive presided over by Mariano Rajoy, suspending the authorization for exploratory perforations until the judicial system is able to rule definitively on the matter.

Initially Repsol had been granted permission to carry out exploratory work with at least two test wells at 3,500 metres depth. The Supreme Courts instead have ruled that it is now acceptable for the adoption of measures to protect against such actions. Amongst the issues the Cabildo has raised in the judicial review is that there are some 600,000 hectares of land under consideration which were never included in the original European Community bulletin that was published in 2001 in relation to prospecting in Canarian waters.

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