Collective “No” by the Mayors of the Ionian Islands regarding hydrocarbon mining. 

Decision 3-9 / 17.04.2019 of the Board of Directors of the Regional Association of Municipalities of the Ionian islands

Subject: “Extraction of hydrocarbons in the Ionian Sea”.

The Board of Directors of the Regional Union of Municipalities of the Ionian Islands met today, Wednesday, April 17, 2019, at 14:00, at the meeting room of PED-IN in Corfu, Protocol 243 / 12-04-2019, invitation of the President of Mr. Alexandros Parissis, Mayor of Cephalonia, which was legally served on the members.

The meeting was attended by eight (8) of the fifteen (15) members of the Board of Directors of PED-IN:

Presenters: 
1. Alexandros Parissis, President, Mayor of Kefallonia 
2. Constantinos Nikolouzos, Mayor of Corfu 
3. Pavlos Kolokotsas, Mayor of Zakynthos 
4. Pavlos Daglas, Mayor of Meganisi 
5. Dionysis Stantzas, Mayor of Ithaca 
6. Giorgos Rathestinos, Municipal Councilor of Corfu 
7. Athanasios Perdikris, Deputy Mayor of Lefkada 
8. Gerasimos Dimitratos, Municipal Councilor of Kefalonia

Absent:

1. Meropi-Spyridoula Hydraou, Vice-President, Municipal Councilor of Corfu 
2. Konstantinos Drakoutheidis, Mayor of Lefkada 
3. Spyridon Vlachopoulos, Mayor of Paxos 
4. Vassilios Armeniakos, Municipal Councilor of Corfu 
5. Georgios Mamalos, Municipal Councilor of Corfu 
6. Antonios Antiochos-Balikaras, Deputy Mayor of Zakynthos 
7. Dionysis Aravantinos, Secretary, Municipal Councilor of Kefallonia

After a quorum was found, the President of the PES of the Ionian Islands and Mayor of Cephalonia, Mr Alexandros Parissis, gave the floor to Gerasimos Dimitratos, City Councilor of Cephalonia, who informed the members about the dangers of our islands, from the extraction of hydrocarbons to Ionian. In detail, he stated that:

1. The Ionian Islands are surrounded by six plots allocated for exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons, totaling about 17,000 square kilometers. Source: Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company 
2. French Total and Spanish Repsol, companies operating in the Ionian Sea, have a severe history of oil spills. Source: WWF Hellas 
3. Research and mining directly threaten important marine and coastal ecosystems, such as the sea zone from Argostoli to Mounta bay, the coastal sea zone from Argostoli to Vlachata and Kefalonia – Ithaca. Source: Ecoscope, WWF Hellas
4. They also threaten world-wide marine species living in the Ionian Sea, such as the Caretta turtle, the Mediterranean seal, the dolphins, the wolf, the bellows and the breeches. Source: Life Sea Program 
5. Oil exploration and extraction work is permitted throughout the Ionian Sea. For the protected areas, an exclusion zone is only one kilometer away from the coast. Source: Joint Ministerial Decision for the Approval of SEPA for the Ionian Sea Area 
6. Seismic surveys that are proven to be extremely dangerous to marine life are exempt from the obligation to conduct an environmental impact study. Source: Joint Ministerial Decision for the approval of SEPA for the Ionian Sea Area
7. The great depths of the Ionian Sea combined with the seismicity of the area make the mines extremely dangerous with a great risk of failures and accidents. 
8. The tourism and fisheries sectors provide almost ¾ of the income of the Ionian Region. International experience has shown that an oil spill will have devastating effects on tourism and fisheries and, consequently, on local communities. Source: INTRODUCTION 
9. Neither will we become Saudis nor will we get out of the mining crisis. As evidenced by the signed contracts, the only direct income for the Region is 5% of the taxable income (not turnover) of the companies. Revenue for the country is negligible, the lion’s share goes to oil companies. Source: RIS
10. It is not too late to stop the mining projects. Competitive tourism in Portugal, Spain, France, Croatia and Italy prohibit hydrocarbon mining for reasons of environmental and tourism protection and boost, fund renewable energy sources. What do we do?

Subsequently, Mr. Demetratos informed members that residents of Kefalonia and Ithaca are against the hydrocarbon mining in the Ionian Sea, on whatever terms it is proposed or agreed and for this reason they have already signed signatures. It also proposes the adoption of a resolution of the PED-IN BoD against the hydrocarbon mining in the Ionian Sea.

There followed an interactive discussion of the members and then

By majority, they decide

The PES of the Ionian Islands disagrees with the hydrocarbon extraction in the Ionian on whatever terms it is proposed or agreed because: 
• It is a highly polluting activity with disastrous consequences for the environment we live in and the primary sector. 
• It is incompatible with the quality tourism products offered by our islands and will cause great financial damage in this area. 
• It involves the risk of a major accident due to factors related to each mining operation, as well as the high seismicity of the area, while the company is exempt from compensation when the accident is caused by natural causes. 
• Public mining revenues are poor and in no case are a solution to the economy of the country and the country.
For these reasons, the PIC of the Ionian Islands calls for the practical engagement of all those responsible for the immediate cessation of any hydrocarbon extraction activity in the Ionian region.

Mr. Athanasios Perdikaris, Deputy Mayor of Lefkada, does not agree with the above resolution because he considers that the extraction of hydrocarbons in the Ionian is a very important issue, which should be discussed more widely with the participation of special scientists and institutional bodies of the Ionian Islands Region. 
This decision was given a number: 3-9 / 17.04.2019

FOR THE BOARD THE FIELD OF IONIAN ISLANDS

THE PRESIDENT OF THE PED – IN

THE SECRETARY OF THE PED – IN

ALEXANDER PARISIS

Mayor of Kefallonia

DIONYSIOS ARAVANTINOS

City Councilor of Cephalonia

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