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Public Ministry takes oil drilling debate to Supreme Court

Published on 25/03/2019

Portugal’s Public Ministry has appealed against the decision of the Central Administrative Court of the South which overturned the suspension of the license for oil exploration off Aljezur as issued the Administrative Court of Loulé last August.

The final decision will now fall to the Supreme Administrative Court.

In February 2019, in a surprisingly vague judgement, a Lisbon court overturned the injunction that was granted in Loulé. The ruling seemed, “completely to ignore the right of the principle of precaution, enshrined in the Basic Law of the Environment of 2014,” put forward by PALP’s lawyers.

The Public Ministry is appealing the case as it, “considers that the decision of the Central Administrative Court of the South was not correct because it did not take into account the precautionary principle,” explained the anti-oil collective, PALP.

PALP says that the Public Prosecution Service has decided to appeal the judgment, “because it considers that its function is to defend legality in this case, the defence of the environment.”

“PALP considers the position of the Public Prosecutor’s Office as exemplary as it defends the law and opposes a judgment that has chosen to ignore the precautionary principle and put the ‘knowledge of resources’ above the risks to the environment,” added PALP.

These court hearings should be viewed against the backdrop of Galp-ENI waiving their contracts, a fact that eventually has been proved by the submission of a letter to that effect, issued, “after months of insistence with the Ministry of Environment and after a formal complaint to the Committee on Access to Administrative Documents.”

PALP says it will appear in the Supreme Court of Justice as it continues to push for an end to the legislation that grants rights for the exploration and extraction of oil and insists on legislation for the effective protection of the Environment and Portugal’s public.