• Environmental NGO’s annual report card knocks new obstacles to renewables
• Halt to drilling off Canaries, Valencia and Malaga among high points for 2015
Greenpeace has published its environmental and social report card for 2015, giving the government of Spain poor marks for what it sees as significant setbacks for the environment as a result of legislative initiatives pushed through Congress by the governing Partido Popular (PP) of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy during 2015.
Greenpeace said the PP had squandered opportunities to promote social, environmental and economic policies that promote a sustainable and environmentally responsible economy, while erecting obstacles to the growth of renewable energy production and criminalizing peaceful protest by NGOs and others passage of the so-called “Gag Law” in the 2015 legislative session.
On the positive side of Spain’s environmental and social balance sheet for 2015, Greenpeace cited a number of victories, including: the ruling by Spain’s Constitutional Court against the PP-initiated reform of the Coastal Act; the abandonment by energy company Repsol of fossil-fuels exploratory drilling off the Canary Islands and prospecting projects off the coasts of Valencia and Malaga; and the cleanup and closure of the nuclear “graveyard” at Villar de Cañas in Cuencas.
The downside of the Greenpeace balance sheet for 2015 included multiple items, among them: a halt to the development of renewable energy sources under a Ministry of Industry directive; the adoption of the “Gag Law”, limiting free speech and the right to peaceful protest of government policies; the government’s having raised the bar with increased requirements for citizens seeking affordable legal counsel and access to the courts; and an amendment to Spain’s forestry legislation to the benefit of lumber and paper industry interests.