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Canary Islands residents wary of oil drilling possibilities

Authorities and the people of the Canary Islands are worried that the idea of oil drilling may soon become a reality.

On November 23, authorities, along with Conservative regional president, Paulino Rivero, will ask residents to vote on plans that would give oil group, Repsol, permission to drill for oil near the islands.  Repsol has already been granted permission by Spain’s government to explore the seabed 30 miles away from Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.  Rivero, who strongly disagrees with the idea of drilling for oil in the islands, expressed his views:

“Do you think the Canaries should change its environmental and tourism model for the sake of oil and gas exploration? That is the question that will be put to the vote.”

The Canary Islands, which consist of seven islands and is located off the North-West coast of Africa, relies on its rich tourism industry.  Residents feel that if oil drilling was to occur their economy would be negatively affected.

If Repsol was granted permission to drill, their contract would require them to stop all explorations if an earthquake with a magnitude stronger than 4.5 hits and provide a deposit of $25 million for their environmental responsibilities.

On October 18, civil rights activists from the seven islands will be protesting under the slogan “We live here, we decide here.”

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