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Ibiza says No! - 33,000 times

The call went out for 30,000 signatures, in triplicate, in Spanish, in time - and the people responded, 33,000 times, in triplicate, in Spanish and in time.

Hot off the press! We received confirmation at 18.55 this evening that the deadline for the submission for petitions has been extended up to (and including) February 21st. If you know anyone who wanted to sign but thought it was too late, please let them know about this important update! All the details you need to sign the petition are here.

Today, we extend warmest congratulations to the Alianza Mar Blava (Blue Sea Alliance) who confirmed this morning receipt of over 33,000 petitions supporting the Ibiza says No campaign which is opposed to the planned oil exploration in the local seas. Celebrations, albeit cautious ones seem to be in order!

It was reported yesterday on the Ibiza Council's official website that their president, Vincent Serra, is due to go to Brussels today for a landmark meeting. He will deliver documented proof to EU officials of those 33,000 petitions against Cairn Energy's now infamous oil project.

The meeting, scheduled with the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potocnik, will show the European authorities the huge extent of public feeling behind the Alianza Mar Blava movement.

The Spanish national government will now be obliged to consider the 33,000 officially lodged objections to Cairn Energy's existing and much criticized environmental impact study.

The petition was signed by not only island residents, visitors and celebrities such as Carl Cox, Jade Jagger, Pete Tong, Kate Moss and Paris Hilton. But perhaps more poignantly, by complete strangers, incredulous at the idea of sullying the beautiful coast of Ibiza with an ugly oil rig.

Cairn's environmental impact study was criticized because it only covered the risks associated with phase one of the oil project: the acoustic surveys.

Quite aside from ignoring the potential implications of drilling for and transporting the oil should any be found, (phases 2 and 3) the report was found upon scrutiny to be inaccurate and incomplete.

As many will be aware, the campaign needed a minimum of 30,000 official, signed petitions to be successful. The request was for the government to immediately withdraw permission for the acoustic surveys, thought widely by expert biologists to be devastating to marine life.

Moreover, no matter how many safety precautions were taken, in the event of a serious accident or disaster, the potential damage to both the tourism and fishing industries could be grave. These industries of course, form the bulk of Ibiza's economy.

Spotlight spoke this morning with Sandra Benbeniste, spokesperson for Alianza Mar Blava and coordinator of the Ibiza Preservation Fund:

Spotlight: You must be very happy to have exceeded your target for 30,000 signed official petitions, congratulations!

Sandra: Thank you! We are very happy to have achieved this important milestone.

Spotlight: So, what happens now? What is the next step?

Sandra: Well, the Spanish Ministry for the Environment must now consider all the points made in the petition, one by one before the oil project can begin. And there are many objections to investigate.

Spotlight: How long will this process take?

Sandra: They say it could take up to one year to properly consider all the allegations against the project. This is really good news because it gives us more time. Time to organize, demonstrate and keep up the pressure on the government to abandon plans for oil drilling in the Mediterranean Sea.

Spotlight: So it's not over yet?

Sandra: (laughing) Far from it. So far, the campaign so far has necessarily been focusing on stopping phase one of the acoustic surveys, which were originally due to begin this year. Of course we are hoping that after all the points on our petition have been duly considered, the government will find that the oil project is too dangerous and will withdraw permission.

Spotlight: And if they do, is that the end of it?

Sandra: No, it is just the beginning. It is not enough to simply say that we do not support the search for oil around Ibiza. We must now focus on promoting renewables, which is what the people want. We want solar power, wind power, tidal power. We want to invest in a clean future for everyone.

Spotlight: Are there any events or actions planned that people can participate in?

Sandra: Yes! There is a worldwide demonstration planned for February 22nd with actions in many cities around the world. Also, during Spring, there will be a big event for children in Playa d'en Bossa. Under 18s could not sign the petition, despite the fact that it's their future hanging in the balance. We want to address that and involve our young people in this positive community movement.

Spotlight: Were you surprised at how much international support has been shown to the campaign?

Sandra: Yes! It's been amazing, very touching actually how people have come together from all over the world to support our beautiful island. We feel very grateful for this. But it's important to keep up the pressure, so we will be spending this year lobbying the government for investment in renewables. We will also directly lobby Cairn Energy to abandon their project in the Mediterranean.

Spotlight: So it's going to be a busy year then, i'd better let you go! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers before we finish, Sandra?

Sandra: We thank each and every person so much for their collaboration. In the end, a potential disaster is being transformed into wonderful opportunity for everyone to come together for a better future, not just in Ibiza, but everywhere. It's a great feeling.

So stay tuned and keep checking our site. Ibiza Spotlight will bring you regular news of any official events you can participate in to help Ibiza move towards a clean future and keep the oil rigs at bay.

Last but definitely not least, a huge, resounding, enormous thank you to all of our readers for the astonishing support you have given to our island. We're proud that Ibiza is not just saying no to the oil rig, but more importantly she's saying yes. Yes to respect for each other, yes to respect for the environment, yes to a community united for positive change.

To see our previous article on the Ibiza Says No! campaign, please click here - Ibiza says No! to Oil Drilling

Photo credit: our thanks to Ibiza Anti-Petrolífera for giving permission to publish their photo.