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Week before the 2002 legislative election was decisive

Freeport was approved within record-breaking time lapse

The environmental evaluation of Freeport was made with explicit indications that it should be ready three days before the legislative election that the Socialist Party (PS) lost to Durão Barroso. This Friday, SIC reveals a document that was emitted only a few days before the election, mentioning that the final evaluation has to be sent to the secretary of State for the Environment until the 14th of March. The document further reveals that some of the evaluations were only delivered on the last day of work of the evaluation committee.

Only three days before the ministry that was headed by José Sócrates gave its positive evaluation to the construction of Freeport, the process was still lacking four evaluations that are normally considered to be fundamental for the final decision.

Despite the lack of important sector evaluations, there was already a proposition for the final appreciation by the evaluation committee.

This can be found in the dossier of the process which was fully consulted by SIC.

The document, 53 pages long, explicitly mentions that three days before the approval "the proposition lacks the sector evaluations: for the Territory Planning, Landscaping, archaeological patrimony and Subterranean Water".

Nevertheless, it is written that the evaluation committee's final report and the proposal for the Declaration of Environmental Impact must be at the Secretary of State for the Environment three days later, on the 14th of March.

Even more urgent: the final meeting of the evaluation committee had to be held on the next day, the 12th of March, with a compromise in between: the necessary evaluations would be requested by the coordinator of the evaluation committee herself, to ensure they would be concluded and delivered within 24 hours.

Architect Fernanda Vara, the regional Environment director, saw this - and on the very day of the final meeting of the evaluation commission, she said that she agreed with this work methodology.

That day was 5 days away of the legislative election that PS lost.

Two days later, the final positive evaluation entered the Environment Ministry. Within a record-breaking time lapse and to be signed immediately.

On that same day, the 14th of March, Rui Gonçalves, the secretary of State with a competence that had been delegated by José Sócrates, gave the construction of Freeport in Alcochete its green light.

source: SIC, 23.01.2009

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