02/16/15 Adriatic Without Oil and Gas Exploitation
Ministry of Economy
Mr. Ivan Vrdoljak, Minister
Ulica grada Vukovara 78
Zagreb, February 16, 2015
Subject: Commentary as a part of the public debate on the Strategic environmental impact assessment of exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in the Adriatic
Dear Mr. Vrdoljak,
The organization Animal Friends Croatia is using this opportunity to take part in the public debate on the Strategic environmental impact assessment of exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in the Adriatic.
Led by the notion that preserved environment is one of the basic pillars of Croatian economy, Animal Friends Croatia believes that the exploration and exploitation of oil in the Adriatic pose an immediate threat to the environment, the animals as its inhabitants and tourism.
Despite the recession, it is necessary to examine the long-term consequences and not only the short-term profit. It is also crucial to take into account the enormous damage to the environment and the animals that will inevitably follow, despite the planned safety precautions.
In the event of a serious accident, the consequences on the health and lives of people and animals would be disastrous. Some of the examples of this include the oil slick after the Montara oil spill in Australia in 2009, its size equalling to 2/3 of the Croatian Adriatic, and ENI's 471 cases of oil spill in Nigeria in the first nine months of 2013, resulting in 471 thefts and terrorist attacks. Also, despite the high standards, the examples of Norway and Scotland prove that the continual release of oil and other harmful substances into the environment has a noticeable negative impact on ecosystems. The seismic survey itself, which preceded the concession tender, had a considerable impact on the Adriatic since it included using airguns, which release extremely strong soundwaves into the sea inhabited by animals relying on their sense of hearing to live.
Environmental pollution, as well as harmful effects on people and animals, would be further exacerbated by the impact of the drilling mud used in the drilling process. It is highly toxic, and its release into the environment can not be completely prevented, resulting in it lingering in the sea and on the seabed. The implementation of this project would also mean a disregard for the biological and socio-economic values of marine national parks and nature parks and would endanger the ecological network Natura 2000.
Since the study does not provide for any mechanisms of pollution prevention, nor does it take into account the considerable impact of oil exploitation on climate change and its consequences, but ignores the biological and socio-economic values of marine national parks and nature parks, the organization Animal Friends expresses its disagreement with and opposition to any kind of exploration and exploitation of the Adriatic which would surely have a harmful impact.
Since the project has been strongly opposed by the public, we request that the decision on this matter be based on protecting the long-term interest of the public, respecting the opinion of the public and local communities, as well as on the importance of protecting the animals and their environment.
We also express hope that the following days will prove that we would not remember the Adriatic as a Europe's pearl, rich with animal and plant life that once existed, but that Croatia will be able to keep priding itself in its sea as one of the rare pristine drops in the glass of polluted and extinct seas and oceans, and that it will continue to improve the protection of the Adriatic Sea and its inhabitants with each day.
Wishing that common sense prevails over interests guided exclusively by profit, which is too often ruthless in pursuing its goals, we cast our vote for the preservation of the Adriatic and its animals, in the interest of current and future generations.
The president of the organization