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SPANISH SUPREME COURT OPENS DOOR FOR DRILLING IN CANARY ISLANDS

06/30/2014

Last week, the Spanish Supreme Court rejected environmental appeals against oil drilling off the Canary Islands. Spain had granted exploration permits in the region in 2012, but they were put in hold due to environmental concerns. Now, the Supreme Court has opened the door for businesses such as Spanish oil company Repsol to move forward with exploration plans. The court’s decision angered islanders—who are concerned about the potential impacts on tourism—as well as environmentalists, who fear damage to the Canary Islands’ unique ecosystems. Ricardo Aguilar, research director of Oceana in Europe, called the decision “irresponsible.” He stated that the islands’ deep-sea ecosystems “sustain species that are vital for the tourism and fisheries in the area,” and criticized the court for promoting oil and gas exploration at the expense of the islands’ fragile habitats. According to Repsol, exploration could start in the third quarter of this year, with drilling beginning in 2019. For the full story, see http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/24/spanish-court-gives-green-light-to-oil-exploration-in-the-canary-islands and http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/24/us-spain-canaryislands-drilling-idUSKBN0EZ16K20140624.