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At last: The Court of Castilla y León rejected San Glorio 4/2/08

Justice vetoed a ski station for not being viable in view of the climate change. The Court of Castilla y León brought the plan down which the Autonomous Government had for the construction of San Glorio.

EL PAÍS, RAFAEL MÉNDEZ - Madrid - 02/04/2008. The ski station San Glorio, part of which was planned to be within the Natural Park between Palencia, León and Cantabria, cannot be built. Not as it has been designed. The Superior Court of Justice of Castilla y León has annulled the plan of the Autonomous Government, the Partido Popular, that gave permission to ski there in spite of it being a protected area. The sentence accepts the argument that, as the scientific reports indicate, "the economic viability is very doubtful" for this station "because of the change of climate" . The court sentence, a pioneer with respect to the recognition of climate change, is a decision in favour of the Association for the Defense of the Natural Resources of Cantabria (ARCA) and there will be similar decisions to appeals of the Spanish Ornithological Society, the WWF/Adena, The Brown Bear Fund, FAPAS and the Platform in Defense of San Glorio. In 1999 the Autonomous Government of Castilla y León pronounced the creation of the Natural Park Fuentes Carrionas y Fuente Cobre-Montaña Palentina. The Organizational Plan of the area prohibited any alpine ski station whatsoever. The area is home to one of two unique populations of Brown Bear that have survived in Spain, among other other protected species . But in 2004 the business firm Tres Provincias appeared with a plan to build a ski station which for a part was planned to be within the protected area. Under the benefit of the station plans for urbanisation emerged for thousands of appartments. In 2006 the Autonomous Government of Castilla y León modified the Organizational Plan of the Natural Park in favour of the ski station and "socio-economic development". The Autonomous Executive strongly supported this station and prepared a bill to secure this. The ecologists appealed considering that it was "a scandal that the Autonomous Government should be dedicated to degrading a natural space and should defend the interests of a business firm" as Gonzalo Canales of ARCA explains. They produced scientific reports of the University of León, Salamanca, and of the Superior Council of Scientific Research that criticized the project and especially the impact it would have on the Brown Bear. The court sentence pronounced by Ana Martínez Olalla, emphasized that the Autonomous Government had permitted skiing "without technical or scientific reports" that justify this change and brings to mind that in natural parks any economic development ''is a basic function, but does not have priority". The court declared the evidence established that a ski station is "incompatible" with "the survival of some of the species of fauna and flora existing there", and that therefor the Autonomous Government prohibited it in 1998. Moreover, it considers established that "it is very doubtful whether a ski station is economically viable in this natural area because of the climatic changes taking place and the physical circumstances surrounding it ". This is probably the first time that a court admits the argument of climate change and its impact when considering the viability of infrastructure. "The environment is not an abstract notion but the space where human beings live that depend on it for the quality of their life and for their health, even for future generations" as it is stated in this court sentence of 25 folios and charged with ecology. The court declares that the Autonomous Government by lowering the level of protection of the natural area without justification, has "flagrantly" violated the Organizational Plan and that it has infringed upon the Autonomous Act of Natural Areas, the State Act of Conservation and the European directive for the Natura 2000 Network.

   It is a specialised and territorial scavenger bird (osteophage) tied to the mountain areas, which takes advantage of the winds that originate in the mountainous systems in order to be able to exploit the enormous areas that make up its territories.

    It reproduces annually, thereby overcoming a long reproductive cycle, as well as juvenile dependence. It has low reproductive success, whereby reproduction fails in half of the pairs, and the rest produce only a single chick per year. [...]

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   The National Park of the Picos de Europa, at 64,660 ha, is an area of great importance for the birds, whose ecology and distribution are associated with high mountain areas.

    The Picos de Europa constitute the most prominent mountainous unit of the Cantabrian Range, and from a biogeographical point of view, it is located in the Atlantic region, in the Province of Orocantábrica, the Ubiñense-picoeuropeano sector and the Picoeuropeo sub-sector. [...]

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   If you make any Bearded Vulture observation in the study area, collaborate with us by describing it and contributing your information to the LIFE Project. [...]
   In this area, you will be able to find videos related to the Bearded Vulture, desktop backgrounds [...]
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