Canary Islands vs. Big Oil
Date Written: 2013-11-01
Publisher: Against the Current
Year Published: 2013
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20275
Thousands of Canary Islands residents and activists have begun campaigning against Spanish oil company Repsol, and the potential oil spill that could devastate the wildlife and tourist and fishing industries.
As one of Spain's most attractive holiday destinations, hundreds of thousands of livelihoods in the Canary Islands would be put at risk from pollution caused by the Spanish government's oil exploration. Drilling will be deep, up to 6,000 meters, with wells within 18 miles of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. An investigation by environmentalists will research the impact on ocean life where over 50,000 plant and animal species have been identified.
Both islands have little rainfall so there’s a possibility of sea contamination, as islanders’ drinking water is supplied by desalinated sea water. Trade winds would further the potential spillage area. Concern that deep sea drilling causes earth tremors, for many, just adds to the feeling that drilling doesn't make sense. These are volcanic islands and naturally prone to seismic activity.
But the unveiling of the new reform of the Spanish electrical system in July, 2013 has swept further disharmony over the islands. Its 3.5 billion euro cut in the renewable energy sector each year raises eyebrows over Spain’s longterm conviction to ecological development.
A new tax on solar panels has been introduced charging high fees for grid use so that it is effectively no longer economical for households to generate their own energy. The new law has been criticized by the Spanish National Energy Commission and provoked national anger, but anyone refusing to connect to the grid could face fines of up to 30 million euros.