Wadden Sea National Park under threat from Russian oil drilling company

04.04.2016 08:39
Kategorie: News

Greenpeace: Politics must reject oil drilling in national park

Greenpeace activists recently staged a demonstration against Russian oil company DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG (DEA), which has plans to start oil drilling operations in the Wadden Sea National Park.

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On 31 March 2016, the Greenpeace ship Beluga II travelled to one of the proposed drilling sites near the Mittelplate oil field to protest the planned oil drilling. As it sailed towards the site, a banner hung between the ship’s masts read (in German): “DEA – No New Oil Drilling in the Wadden Sea”. Upon reaching their destination, the activists erected a six-metre wooden drill tower for several hours to visually illustrate the threat to the national park.

Jörg Feddern, an oil expert at Greenpeace Germany, said that the preservation of nature at the Wadden Sea National Park must not be neglected for the sake of business and that it was up to politics to put a stop to this project.

Since 2007, DEA has been trying to obtain permits to drill in the Wadden Sea. As of 2015, the application of four drill sites remain pending. Whether approval is given depends on Dr Robert Habeck, Minister of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment and Rural Areas, and member of the Alliance ’90/The Greens party. “Anyone who acknowledges that the Wadden Sea warrants protection cannot simultaneously allow corporations to look for oil there,” said Feddern in German.

All the four sites the DEA are interested in are located in the Wadden Sea National Park; three of them are in the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park, and the fourth in the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park in Niedersachsen. Permitting oil drilling to be carried out would run contrary to the objectives of the national parks, which had been established due to their highly sensitive characteristics and the uniqueness of the flora and fauna (Schleswig-Holstein in 1985, and Niedersachsen in 1986). In addition, the Wadden Sea itself was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.

High price to pay for a little oil

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In many instances, accidents occur during oil drilling operations. Such accidents have devastating effects on the marine habitat and coastal regions. In the case of oil drilling in the Wadden Sea, the amount of oil available is expected to be just under 20 million, an amount that would satisfy Germany’s demand for about two months.

Considering the true price that would be paid if an oil spill were to occur, Feddern described the plans of the DEA as high-risk at the expense of the extensive flora and fauna found in the Wadden Sea.

More details and background information on petroleum and the environmental concerns can be found in the new Greenpeace report entitled Oil Report 2016 (PDF file): www.greenpeace.de/.../oel-report-2016-greenpeace-20160108_0.pdf

Further Information: www.greenpeace.de