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A new oil drilling threat to Ibiza
By Jerry Brownstein
It was only a few years ago that the people of Ibiza rose up in protest of plans to drill for oil and gas in the seas near our island. Huge public demonstrations, massive signings of petitions and tireless work by Alianza Mar Blava and other organizations eventually won the day, and the prospecting was cancelled. But like a bad horror film - where the monster whom you thought was dead rises up again - the spectre of new oil prospecting near Ibiza is once again very real. This time the oil companies are using a loophole in the environmental laws to sneak into our waters under the guise of something called MedSalt-2.
When a company wants to undertake potentially dangerous undersea acoustic surveys for commercial purposes, they need to file a comprehensive environmental impact study. This was the case in the earlier drilling scare, and after the study was filed it was decided that the prospecting was too dangerous to marine life to go ahead. However, if the undersea prospecting is for scientific purposes, then the company only has to submit a greatly simplified impact study. So this time they are pretending that this is a strictly scientific study so that the government will let them do exactly what they were going to do before.
The MedSalt-2 project proposes to carry out the same type of acoustic surveys that were proposed by the oil companies the first time. These have already been ruled to be of grave danger to marine life - yet the standard for environmental protection has been lowered by this trick of calling the study scientific. Clearly there are oil companies supporting this project, and if oil and gas are discovered they will do all they can to start drilling. So what can we do? The limited window to file protests was set to expire on 18 May, but Mar Blava has been able to obtain a 30 day extension, so there is still time to bring pressure on the government to stop this violation of our environmental protection. As of 21 May over 25,000 petitions have been submitted, so let your voice be heard. Ibiza Dice No!