An Argentine court of appeals Monday lifted an injunction order from a lower magistrate, thus clearing the way for offshore oil drilling off Mar del Plata, but it demanded a maximum level of control in the operations.
The local Federal Court of Appeals authorized the continuity of prospecting activities involving the project on three conditions: that 'permanent observers' be included to watch over the care of the Right Whale Natural Monument; that seismic prospecting be carried out at a distance greater than 50 km from the sector comprising the area known as the Blue Hole, and that the activities must be immediately suspended in the event of any sensitive damage to the environment.
”It is unquestionable that the National Parks Administration took the intervention that legally corresponded to it, that the director of the APN made a precise statement regarding the impacts that the project would generate on the Southern Right Whale, that he positively assessed the mitigation measures in this regard, and that the new presentation of (the Norwegian oil company) Equinor incorporated specific measures related to the reports collected in the APN, the upper court judges said.
The environmental organization Greenpeace has called for a march Tuesday in Mar del Plata, under the motto Argentine Sea without oil and argued that the court had given in to pressure from the government and companies and enabled offshore seismic exploration in the Argentine Sea.
But we will not allow oil companies to destroy our sea,” Greenpeace insisted on Twitter.
At the end of 2021, the government of President Alberto Fernández authorized by decree the Norwegian oil company Equinor, together with the state-owned YPF and the Anglo-Dutch Shell, to carry out seismic exploration studies in offshore areas of the Argentine Sea. But last February, amid protests by environmental organizations, a Mar del Plata judge issued an injunction to halt exploration and ordered environmental impact studies to be carried out in the area at the request of the Mar del Plata Mayor's Office, citing a possible impact on sunbathing tourism.
The upper court admitted the arguments filed by Equinor and YPF, who complied with all the Court's requests both regarding public participation and the extension of the environmental impact reports. Labor Unions have also supported the companies' initiative.