We’re pleased to announce that the Spanish government has put an end to proposed oil industry development that would have threatened the Doñana National Park, a World Heritage Site, after campaigning by Oceana and our allies.
Plans to build an oil refinery in the Gulf of Cadiz, not far from Doñana, would have led to higher ship traffic in the area and a higher risk of oil spills or accidents during the tankers’ unloading operations. Oceana is currently working to create a Marine Protected Area in this section of the Gulf of Cadiz, which would be linked to the National Park.
Doñana National Park was established in 1993 and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Its marshes, streams, and sand dunes are home to plants and animals found almost nowhere else in the world.
Many migratory birds spend their winters in the park lands, and endangered species like the Spanish imperial eagle and the Iberian lynx (one of the world’s most endangered cat species) call this area home. In the marshes of Doñana National Park, you can also find birds like the Avocet and the Purple Heron, both of which depend on the sensitive estuary habitats.
Increased oil tanker traffic could have potentially damaged the already vulnerable habitats of these animals.
Oceana identified the threats posed by the construction of this oil refinery in 2005, and has been campaigning against it with other conservationist groups. Oceana Europe is now calling on the Spanish government to enact similar protections for other marine protected areas.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.
Are gas prices impacted by the source of countries' oil? The graphic below, from Oceana, suggests that how much oil a country imports does not affect gas prices.
Rather, the group "found that while gasoline prices vary greatly among these five nations, the variation is almost entirely attributable to variation in gasoline taxes," according to an Oceana email sent to HuffPost. "Once these taxes are factored out, gasoline prices are largely the same across the five nations, despite marked differences in how much oil is sourced domestically versus via imports. This shows that gasoline prices are largely independent of how much oil a country imports or produces domestically, or, in simpler terms, we cannot drill our way to lower gasoline prices.”
A 2012 study, of "36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production," by the Associated Press found that there is "no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump."
A May report from the Natural Resources Defense Council found that if built, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline could actually raise domestic gasoline prices, reported HuffPost's Lucia Graves. Report author and NRDC attorney Anthony Swift said, "Our study has found that Keystone XL is likely to both decrease the amount of gasoline in U.S. refineries for domestic markets and increase the cost of producing it, leading to even higher prices at the pump."
Earlier this week, Reuters reported that the average price of gasoline in the U.S. fell nearly 16 cents in the previous week. The drop is a result of a decline in crude oil prices, fueled by "fears over Europe's economy and a stronger dollar," according to Reuters. A recent survey of Americans by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that three quarters of Republicans and 34 percent of Democrats "cite government limits on drilling as a major reason for energy problems."