September 6, 2018 by Eden Flaherty
The Week em Breve – September 6
Welcome to the Week em Breve! This week in Portugal: EDP in Trouble Again, Pollution, Dead Fish, Nearly-Dead Birds, Eviction Proposals, and much more!
Bodged Bills From EDP?
When it comes to utilities, Portugal is expensive. We all know this, and we all hate this. Well, it seems like there have been some underhand dealings, and now EDP is being sued by the Competition Authority to the tune of €140 million. It is alleged that EDP abused its dominant position in the Portuguese market by hiking electricity bills and simultaneously receiving state subsidies. This isn’t the first time EDP has fallen foul of the law, with a previous case just last year. Talk about a repeat offender.
River Polluter Caught Red-Handed
When we think of companies that dump pollutants into rivers, images of Mr. Burns and big oil come to mind. This time, however, an agri-food business is to blame, after they released tomato concentrate into one of the Tejo tributaries. While this may sound relatively harmless, it actually caused the death of many fish, which has attracted the ire of the environmental agency. The company has been given an injunction to try to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Foul Flow from the Frontier
This isn’t the only waterway that’s under threat, and environmental group Zero has called on the Spanish and Portuguese authorities to meet about the state of the Tejo. The “critical situation” is linked to the quality of water coming from Spain, which has worsened in some places. Monitoring is taking place in Vila Velha de Ródão, where dissolved oxygen levels are lower than they should be, according to Zero.
Costa Criticised for Oil-Loving Letter
How concerned will the Portuguese government be with pollutants? Not very, if Movimento Algarve Livre de Petróleo is to be believed. They have accused António Costa of environmental insensitivity due to a letter in which he “again defends the exploitation of oil in the Algarve.” In the letter, he says, among other things, that giving the ENI/GALP consortium rights to exploratory drilling off Aljezur is based not only on the law, but on “the importance of knowing how to best attain carbon neutrality.” Boring oil wells for a greener tomorrow. Now there’s a slogan we can all get behind.
The environmental news doesn’t stop there. The National Association for the Conservation of Nature (Quercus) is demanding that the government takes action to protect endangered birds. This is due to the fact that eight endangered species continue to be hunted in Portugal. They give the example of the European turtle dove, which despite being on the edge of extinction, is hunted in this fair country. President of Quercus João Branco called on every level of government to “work together in an effort to preserve threatened habitats and restore degraded habitats to reverse this trend that points to a mass extinction.”
No Evictions in Winter
The Socialist Party has put forward a proposal that would stop people being evicted from their homes during winter. This is in line with suggestions by the Council of Europe and would help to guarantee people’s constitutional right to housing. It is hoped that the housing bill will reach parliament by the end of the year. Not being thrown to the streets during winter is certainly a step in the right direction.
Metro Spending Spree
To all the commuters out there, you may be happy to hear that Metro de Lisboa has opted to buy a new signaling system and seven new trains. The cost of this purchase is €136.5 million, which is considerably less than the €210 million it would have cost for the lease recommended by the Council of Ministers earlier this year. Perhaps we won’t be seeing those rattling brown-plastic trains for too much longer.
Think we missed an important story? Let us know in the comments!