All to polls! This is what it would have happened last 17 April 2016 for the Referendum on Italian sea drilling. Most of the votes are green, so turned out to be in favour of the abrogation of the Legislative Decree n. 152 of 3 April 2006. What a pity that quorum unfortunately has not been reached.
In Italy last 17 April there was a Referendum about environmental topic: sea drillings (take a look to Green Economy: Italian Referendum about sea drilling 17 April 2016). In this way the Italian Government let citizens to think and choose citizens about Legislative Decree n. 152 of 3 April 2006, art. 6, paragraph 17, third period. Italians were called to convey their opinions about sustainable environment mainly research and extraction activities of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons within 22,2 km by coast (12 marine miles). The choice concerned the existing installations approval within coast to continue oil and methane farms until oilfield’s depletion, even more than deadline concessions. So the Italian Government through Referendum, which would have validity with quorum (50+1% of votes), asked the following question: “Do you want Legislative Decree n. 152 of 3 April 2006, art. 6, paragraph 17, third period ‘Rule of environmental topic’ as substitute for 28 December 2015, art. 1, paragraph 239, n. 208 ‘Disposition to training State’s annual and multi-year balance sheet (Law of Stability 2016)’ is repealed limited to the following words: for oilfield’s profit duration according to safety and environment standards”?
In the night of 17 and 18 April scrutineers have revealed that total number of votes was equal to 32% and so that quorum has not been reached. Even though, 13.334.764 Italians were come out on the side of abrogation and so that on total 32%, the 80% voted Yes while remaining 20% (2.198.805) No. Probably due to their direct territorial involvement, the South and Islands are the areas with the greatest number of environmental lovers in favour of abrogation. The gold medal went to Basilicata with 90,40% of Yes and 3,60% of No.
Now, the obvious question to be asked is: how is that quorum has not been reached, despite majority of pollings were come out on the side of abrogation?
So, the answer seems to be very simple: the lacking of planning and management toll for renewable resources. Italy has not a National Energy Plan aimed to safeguard the territory, the sea and the environmental conditions. Then, nobody would have prevented oil companies to build it beyond 12 miles by coast (limit imposed by legislation), even if quorum has been reached with majority of Yes. Secondly, there is also a strong disinformation brought on political propagandas by several candidates that, whether favourable or not, played with very important topic such as this one. This outcome, even if it was expected by any citizen, caused a lot of debates about environmental sustainability to such an extent that local newspapers claimed this Referendum as invalid. Due to the lack of civil participation, it seemed that the Italian interests were a proportional representation of environmental advantage or disadvantage that would derive from own personal interests, an uncompleted movement that was maybe expected by the government.
In conclusion, this problem is still unsettled. Next October the question will be placed again, but in a different way: Italians will go back to ballot boxes (without quorum) to vote clearly Yes if in favour of drillings or No if not. Meanwhile we will wait with bated breath.
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