August 1, 2021

Minister accuses Catarina Martins of “infamous and unfounded” statements

Speaking to Lusa news agency, João Pedro Matos Fernandes repudiated positions this morning taken by Catarina Martins, during the presentation of the Left Block candidate for the presidency of the Setubal Chamber.

Among other criticisms, the coordinator of the Left Bloc said that the Environment minister “is quicker and defends business than natural resources” and added that he would ask for parliamentary consideration of the decree that regulates the law on mines.

“This is an infamous statement. It is infamous, unfounded and without any example that Dr Catarina Martins can give”, reacted the Minister of Environment.

From a political point of view, João Pedro Matos Fernandes referred to the request for parliamentary appreciation announced by Catarina Martins and considered that “delaying the entry into force of the mining law, as the Left Block intends, is really to protect the upstarts and miners “.

“This is the mining law that guarantees all environmental protection in terms of prospecting, because in terms of exploration, there has always been an environmental impact assessment. But in terms of prospecting there was no guarantee,” he claimed.

According to the member of the Government, the executive’s decree “attributes the power of veto to the autarchies in all projects that are of private initiative”.

“This is the mining law that makes a fair distribution of the `royalties´ (business commission) of mining exploration with local communities and municipalities”, defended João Pedro Matos Fernandes.

Regarding the content of the speech given this morning by the coordinator of the Left Bloc in Setúbal, the minister of the Environment said that he had read “four statements and it is impressive how these four statements are all false”.

“In none of them is there a shred of truth. Firstly, Catarina Martins says that the dredging went wrong, but it is false – and the proof that they were carried out with all the environmental care is that, last summer (they were already completed dredging), the Sado estuary had never had so many dolphins and even orcas appeared,” he countered.

João Pedro Matos Fernandes later accused Catarina Martins of having “lied” when referring to an accident in the dredging.

“It’s fake. I almost feel like saying that at least someone in the Left Block will know it’s fake, because the accident that happened was in a dredging company that had absolutely nothing to do with the dredging in the port of Setúbal. Fortunately, it was a small accident, which was quickly corrected and which is being investigated by ICNF”, defended the Minister of Environment.

João Pedro Matos Fernandes also rebelled against Catarina Martins’ complaint that there is now a lack of sand on the beaches of Arrábida. A point at which the minister of the environment went on the counterattack.

“I’ll say it’s her responsibility [Catarina Martins], because, in fact, an environmental association, with the high sponsorship of the Left Block, placed a precautionary measure that prevented sand from being placed on the beaches. Therefore, the responsibility is really hers,” he insisted.

As for the Left Block’s intention to correct issues related to marine resources in the Government’s decree on the mining law, João Pedro Matos Fernandes said he did not know what matter was being discussed.

“The regulation of the law on mines does not even refer to marine resources. The original law, still from the time of the executive of Pedro Passos Coelho, speaks of resources on land and at sea. But we, the Government, only regulate resources on land and nothing, but nothing at all, in relation to the resources of the sea,” he added.

Also Read: “The Minister of the Environment is always quicker to defend business”

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