If Greenpeace has won the battle against Zara and its use of toxic chemicals, this new potential environmental threat should have the Greenpeace Mediterranean headquarters on full alert: the Israeli government eager to become energy independent has agreed that a drilling company can start survey drilling off the Israeli coast in an area designated to be a marine reserve. While Israel’s part of the Mediterranean Sea has proven to have a bounty of natural gas reserves – ones that could make it energy independent for 100 years (according to reports I’ve read), prospectors are now drilling deeper, because where’s there’s gas, there is often oil. But the greens in Israel aren’t pleased with this new development. And the government is giving its own mixed message.
The area in question is some 19 kilometers, about 15 miles off the coast of Herzylia. Environmentalists like our friends at Zalul (an NGO whose name means clear) are against drilling at this proposed marine reserve. They are concerned about oil spillage into the sea into the reserve that will be part of a network of four others along the Israeli coast, and state that no emergency clean up plans have been put into action.
The situation is absurd, Haaretz reports. On one hand the State’s Nature and Parks Authority promotes the reserve while the Interior Ministry approves drilling.
The company that will do the proposed drilling at the site called Gabriela hopes to locate a commercially viable oil field. It will be one of 50 drillings in search for oil that Israel has approved since 1969.