The people of Abruzzo, in central Italy, have delivered a knockout blow in the latest of a series of fights against the oil giants and their plans to drill Europe’s greenest & seismically volatile region, home to 3 national parks.
Mediterranean Oil and Gas plc’s project to drill Ombrina Mare for both oil & gas has been refused approval by Italian authorities, after a long period of protracted protests and campaigning by residents.
Mediterranean Oil & Gas had anticipated pumping a total of 40 million barrels of low grade Alberta Sands style oil and 3.5 million cubic feet of natural gas a day from Ombrina Mare, off the Abruzzo’s Adriatic EU protected coastline opposite & adjacent to Ortona, the port town made so famous from series of bloody Second World War battles.
The Italian government paid heed to the 2-year campaign to protect sustainable local livelihoods and a rich bio-diverse environment. This campaign was actively supported by the Catholic Church, all Abruzzo Town Councils, the Merchants’ Trade Union, Tourism Operators, Farm workers and Winemakers, as well as the WWF Italy.
The Italian government’s three primary reasons for vetoing MOG’s Abruzzo plans were listed as:
1. compromising the local tourism & fishing industries
2. environmental degeneration that marine based oil drilling would bring to the surrounding EU protected fragile eco-systems & wildlife
3. proven health risks to local communities that occur if in contact with the toxic bi-products that are part of oil extraction.
The no-oil-abruzzo campaign has been led by Maria Rita D’Orsogna, a Maths Professor at California State University, Northridge who has been campaigning against the oil giant’s plans for Abruzzo since 2007. The campaign speaks daily to the man on the street, from the region’s town-halls, cinema, theatres and schools, utilising social & traditional media to debunk the propaganda and myths of long-term oil wealth and health across the region. Abruzzo’s population quickly signed up to preserve their region and march when called upon, no matter what the season.
Maria Rita D’Orsogna declared:
“This new veto has been made possible via the people of Abruzzo’s protracted and active fight in saying NO to the oil companies and the Italian government. Our small steps in chasing these oil giants out of Abruzzo is another leap closer; the region is a spectacular unspoilt part of Italy with an extraordinary richness of wildlife, with a sustainable future, and the people that live here want this to remain for future generations. We’ve already had local success in halting the Italian-based ENI oil company, now we must continue our work to ensure that the same veto is applied by the Italian government to the ELSA application by Petroceltic & Forest Oil at Il Lago di Bomba.”