The Environment department has been accused of endorsing the oil explorations of Repsol despite a report that warned of the risk of "irreparable harm" in the Ebro delta (Read article in Castilian here, El Pais). The ministry of the Environment endorsed the security measures proposed by Repsol for prospecting in front of the Ebro delta and exempted the company from an environmental impact assessment (EIA), according to a report published in the Oficial de Estado (BOE). Two months later the explorations resulted in two discharges into the sea of more than 100 tonnes of crude oil because of "gross negligence in the provision of risk." The ministry are accused of exonerating Repsol for conducting an EIA despite receiving a preliminary report warning of the damages, however the ministry concluded that the oil projects did not involve a "significant adverse impact." Manuel Díaz, vice president of the Asociación Española de Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental, said that "it is a key tool to prevent possible accidents such as, for example, those produced by Repsol." María Jesús Rodríguez de Sancho, director general of the Quality and Assessment division of the Ministry of Environment, told El Pais that "When a project involves a clear risk that affects a zone of Red Natura 2000, such as the delta, then it is subject to the EIA." With regards to the explorations of Repsol, the director didn't explain the motives of the ministry over their lack of information, because when it was decided she wasn't in office. The responsibility for the decision doesn't not lie solely at the feet of the ministry but undertaking an EIA concerns the Generalitat department of the Environment as well. However the Catalan government considered that the proposed measures were already "enough to deal with environmental impacts" and dismissed the need for further studies on more severe risks. The department of sustainability and sea coast, was the only one to require that the explorations of Repsol be submitted to an EIA despite admitting that the report submitted by the oil company was "very comprehensive." The agency changed its mind after meeting with Repsol in December 2008.
A study conducted by the Federación Internacional del Automóvil revealed that in Rome there are twice as many motorbikes and mopeds than in Barcelona and four times more motorists are killed annually (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). A recent study of the two cities revealed that they have the most bike users in Europe with Rome at 644.000 and Barcelona, 280.000. The study carried out by the RACC for the Automobile Club of Italy, using data provided by the Guardia Urbana de Barcelona, revealed that the two most common causes of accidents are illegal turns without signaling or jumping traffic lights. Motorcycle accidents have actually fallen in recent years, however in Barcelona, 21 people are still wounded every day. Miquel Nadal, president of the RACC Foundation said that "We know the age of the injured, the capacity of their motorbikes, causes, places and know the risk groups, which means we know how and where to act." Young people under 24 and those over 64 are risk groups, mopeds and large capacity motorcycles as well.
Miquel Iceta stressed the importance of carrying the senyera at Saturdays demonstration (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The PSC spokesman said "I see no patriotism in hiding our flag and our institutions," about Saturday's march. Iceta, went on to say that the demonstration can not deny the role of the senyera, the national flag of Catalunya, saying, "We do not doubt the motto or the organisers, what is at question is whether at the front of the demonstration we can have our national symbol." Speaking of the slogan under which the people will be marching under he said "The important thing is not the slogan, at the end of the demonstration it will be about those people who actually attended, not those that were called to attend." Speaking on a Catalan breakfast television programme, Iceta explained "Of course we are a nation and we want to make decisions, and that is embodied by the senyera, because it is what represents us all." The PSC spokesman predicted that there will be one million people in attendance on Saturday. Speaking of Montilla's presence he was quoted as saying "The president will go to the demonstration because it was he who made the call in his official statement."
Also in the news: Spain await their semi-final match against Germany tonight (read full article in Castilian here, El Pais). The San Fermín bull run in Pamplona was over in two minutes and 23 seconds and there were no reported injuries (read full article in Castilian here, El Pais).