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Greenpeace Denounce Oil Prospecting Project Near Lanzarote

The row about oil prospecting in the Canaries rumbles on, as Greenpeace has just submitted a damning denunciation of the planned project to the European Commission.

Anti oil prospecting poster, Canary Islands

Just Say No.....

Oil giants such as Repsol have long had their eye on potential oil fields located close to the shores of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura but until recently their attempts to start prospecting have been successfully repelled by the Government of the Canaries.  Recently however this body was over ruled by the central government in Madrid, who gave these companies the green light to start their operations.  Naturally this decision has caused enormous amounts of controversy, not least as local observers fear that oil prospecting could have an enormously negative impact upon tourism in the event of a spillage, causing widespread damage to beaches on Lanzarote.

In addition the waters around Lanzarote are home to a delicate marine eco system which would be endangered by the creation of platforms.  Whilst these waters are also the source of drinking water on Lanzarote, as the island has no natural water sources and is kept in aqua by desalination plants.

The issue is now exacerbated though by the economic crisis in Spain and the lurch towards a more right wing corporate capitalist style government headed by Mariano Rajoy.  With unemployment rising and a bailout looking increasingly likely it is hard to see how this conservative ruling body will be able to resist the temptation of taking in more tax dollars by allowing oil prospecting to go ahead.  The current economic crisis provides the perfect excuse for them to press ahead with this business friendly agenda, despite the overwhelming opposition of local residents to the plan.

Now Greenpeace has weighed in to the debate too, stating that any such project would be in breach of European Commission laws which stipulate that the impact on the environment must first be fully evaluated.  Whilst also making clear their opposition to the project and pointing out the need to learn from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

At the moment current plans allow for drilling just 60km off the shores of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, so obviously any spill would have a cataclysmic impact upon the tourist industry on both islands.

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