Oil drilling in the Adriatic and the resistance movement

By profession, I am a biologist. In the Sunce Association, where I work, we are a team of three engineers and two biology magistrates, an environmental engineer, chemical engineer, geologist, one lawyer and one economist.

We mostly finance ourselves by projects that we apply to EU funds or the International Foundation for Environmental and Nature Protection. Unlike the country institutions of the Republic of Croatia, we are quite successful in this, so we did not have to go abroad in search for a bread in our bellies (as we say it) as many of our colleagues.

In addition, this is our country and we want to contribute to the progress of society and the country within our capabilities.

Some of us are popularly called young experts. Most of us simply, and even more popular, call it “green”. Sometimes this is a mile away and is more often used as a camouflage of our profession. Then instead of engineers, we become green only.

We are part of the coalition of S.O.S. for the Adriatic and such, green as we are, we consider that the exploitation of our oil in our Adriatic is unacceptable. We think it is unjustified for a number of reasons:

economic: tourism (€ 7.5 billion per year), fishing and mariculture (€ 100 million per year) are endangered, which together earn more than oil exploration (a total of 500 to 800 million kunas in 5 years);

developing: investing in projects based on outdated technologies of the last century at a time when there are clear alternatives to fossil fuels (stone age didn’t stop because stones went missing, but because somebody invented metal processing);

environmental: climate change contributed by using fossil fuels is not a myth and we are now clearly seeing their consequences in all the extreme weather events, and oil spills from the platform and tankers are globally the biggest latent threat to the marine environment.

In a landscaped country, with regard to our profession, we would now write more in detail about the top arguments against the exploitation of oil in the Adriatic. Since the Republic of Croatia is unfortunately not yet a landscaped country, as the main argument against drilling should be the procedure the government has done to exploit the oil.

It is about the 90% of the Adriatic that the government has foreseen for drilling and the concession award was made ON THE CLOSED MEETING OF THE GOVERNMENT, the whole story is run by one ministry (economy) and by the agency that came out of the blue (hydrocarbon agency). All this has been done away from the public eye, without any wider public debate and even without discussion in the Parliament, and a strategic environmental impact study, which is normally being made through a period of a year to year and a half, but this one was done in two months!

We are talking about the resource from which a large number of Croatian citizens live directly of through tourism and fishing, and that only through tourism beings a minimum of 15% of the country’s GDP per year.

Not only a public debate was avoided that would give Croatian citizens clear arguments for and against drilling (and on this basis, it would also bring their own attitude about it), but a PR company was engaged that convinces us that drilling for us – super!

In that assertion, they use arguments such as the fact that Italy already has a large number of platforms and that a large number of tankers that sail the Adriatic  are already polluting it, while at the same time claiming that our “system” is ready to respond to all challenges, including reactions to possible outbreaks.

How then, did the same, capable “system” not react to setting up the latest Italian platforms and sought a transboundary impact study (which is our right) or worse, how did it not stop these tankers that were proved to intentionally release oil during routine naval operations in our ZERP?

When a business is done overnight then you are very much in a hurry to take the chance or you are involved in something “fishy”. Since the oil is in the Adriatic already for a couple of tens of millions of years and it’s not running anyway, you can conclude what this is about.

In the end, all of us, who are trying to stop this, at least suspicious project, the ministers Vrdoljak and Pusić call foreign lobbies. And this is Minister Pusić who knows what it means for years to be accused of being a secret agent.

In this case, we can only ask ourselves: What are your concerns, Minister Vrdoljak and Minister Pusić, when you have the need to solve such an important issue for all Croatian citizens on closed government meetings?
Mosor Prvan