Algarve Free of Petroleum Platform (“Plataforma Algarve Livre de Petroleo” in Portuguese, PALP) is a Portuguese activist movement composed of voluntary citizens and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working steadily towards one goal: to keep the Algarve, as well as the rest of Portugal, free from fossil fuel activities.

In 2015, when the movement began, several concessions were in place for oil and gas exploration and production covering the entire mainland, from north to south, eleven of which were in or near the Algarve region: two onshore and nine offshore.

Through relentless public pressure we’ve managed to get both onshore contracts canceled. Four out the seven southern offshore contracts, those located south of the coast were canceled too. Nevertheless, three concessions off the northwestern coast of the Algarve remain firmly in place.

32323454_15351281920_r.jpeg(Concessions currently in place)

One consortium, ENI/GALP, intends to carry out a deep offshore drilling operation about 29 miles (or 46,5 kilometers) from the coast of Aljezur. That would be near one of our natural parks, Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina.

32323454_15351290590_r.jpeg(Planned drilling location)

Why do we need financial support? The license allowing the drilling of this borehole violates both national and community law, since it was granted while completely ignoring forty-two thousand objections raised against it in an official public consultation. It is also unlawful because it would take place near areas which are already protected, or soon to be protected, under European environmental law.

For these reasons, last year we launched an injunction against the Government which was granted in our favor this year (on 13 August 2018), thereby forbidding the planned drilling until, on further proceedings, the court decides whether the license should be annulled. Meanwhile, the Government has appealead the decision.

And, since our national environmental agency (Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente) disagrees that there should be an Environmental Impact Assessment before the drilling takes place – once again going in the opposite direction of many valid objections raised in favor of it during yet another public consultation – we are also challenging them in court.

All these legal actions are amounting to huge sums in legal fees, and we need help paying them . If successful, we hope this will prevent oil companies from drilling this area, keeping it safe for all living things.

Furthermore, we don’t believe it makes sense to start extracting fossil fuels out of the ground when we know so much about their negative impact on the environment. Portugal has been on the forefront of clean energy, which is the kind we should be developing further.

Finally, the Algarve is a region of unique natural beauty and biodiversity, where a significant amount of people’s livelihoods depend on economic activities such as tourism and fishing. Anything that might increase the risk of it being spoiled should be fought against by all means available. This is one of the means we’re pursuing now. Can you help?