CrisisWatch

Biodiversity & natural resources

Campaigners denounce Irish plan to sell-off forest harvesting rights

Ireland has agreed with the Troika (IMF/EU/ECB) to sell off state-owned assets, in an effort to raise around 3 billion €. The bailout agreement includes the sale of Coillte, the state-owned company managing Ireland’s forest assets (over 1 million acres). The agreement also includes the sale of Bord Gáis Energy (supplier of natural gas and electricity), power plants owned by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and the 25 % share of Aer Lingus...
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Greek islets in national park sold, with unclear development purpose

The sale to the royal family of Qatar of six privately owned islets in the Messolonghi Lagoons National Park (partly of which is a Ramsar site),  has sparked fears that the site’s protective legislation will be undermined, in order to facilitate luxury housing or tourism development plans. Under the current special protection regime, the islet of Oxia, the first to be sold, can host a farmhouse of 80 sq.m., a warehouse of 50 sq.m., visitor in...
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Clashes & massive protests over gold mining in N. Greece

Following a February 17th arson attack against the newly settled mining worksite of Hellas Gold (95% Eldorado Gold, 5% Aktor) in the forest of Skouries (Halkidiki, N. Greece), residents of Ierissos blocked the road in order to prevent the Police from searching the houses of suspects. Riot police reportedly made extensive use of tear gas, even spraying the local school yard and affecting a number of schoolchildren. ...
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Spain’s Congress of Deputies votes rollback in coastal protection

Spain’s 1988 coastal law will be revised, in the direction of environmentally costly development, following its February 19th approval by the majority of the Congress of Deputies. The new legislative proposal provides amnesty to tens of thousands of owners of illegal properties, primarily holiday homes, beach bars and industrial facilities, instead of making the illegal development companies pay for the damage. The proposed law also introduces...
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The quest for oil threatens Spanish marine reserve

As the economic crisis is driving crisis-hit Mediterranean states to a frantic quest for new oil and gas deposits, areas of exceptional ecological significance are placed under serious threat. In Spain, the pristine marine and coastal environment of the Columbretes islands (Castellón) is about to host a new oil exploration survey. Early in January 2013, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism gave its initial consent for the project, which...
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Spain votes controversial new law on coasts

The draft law on coasts, which was submitted by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Nutrition and Environment Miguel Arias Cañete to the Congress of Deputies, has caused angry reactions by environmentalists and the parliamentary opposition. The draft law aims at loosening the existing coastal legislation, in order to “support coastal protection with economic sustainability”, according to the words of Minister Cañete. The Minister also exp...
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Spain votes controversial new law on coasts

The draft law on coasts, which was submitted by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Nutrition and Environment Miguel Arias Cañete to the Congress of Deputies, has caused angry reactions by environmentalists and the parliamentary opposition. The draft law aims at loosening the existing coastal legislation, in order to “support coastal protection with economic sustainability”, according to the words of Minister Cañete. The Minister also exp...
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The quest for oil threatens Spanish marine reserve

As the economic crisis is driving crisis-hit Mediterranean states to a frantic quest for new oil and gas deposits, areas of exceptional ecological significance are placed under serious threat. In Spain, the pristine marine and coastal environment of the Columbretes islands (Castellón) is about to host a new oil exploration survey. Early in January 2013, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism gave its initial consent for the project, which...
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Mining and hydrocarbon rush infect crisis-hit states

As PIGS are fast-tracking approval procedures for all kinds of investments, resource extraction (primarily gold mining and hydrocarbon exploration in sensitive marine areas) is promoted as the spearhead in the effort of economically troubled states to revive their battered economies.  Amidst local protests and demonstrations of thousands against the approval of gold mining operations in Chalkidiki, another investment is in the pipeline. In Evro...
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