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No inventory of environmental liabilities in the Amazon
2/14/2013
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Government does not define what institution is in charge of registering petroleum activity.

“The governmental authorities still have not decided whether the Organism for Environmental Evaluation and Supervision, or OEFA, [attached to the Ministry of the Environment] or the Supervising Organism of Investment in Energy and Mining, or OSINERGMIN, is the authority in charge of registering environmental liabilities,” claimed anthropologist Miguel Valderrama during the presentation of the Second Semester Report of the Observatory of Socioenvironmental Conflicts of the Amazon on Feb. 7. The report corresponds to the second semester of 2012.

 Though the law that regulates the environmental liabilities from hydrocarbons went into effect in 2007, OEFA and OSINERGMIN answered last year to a request from the Ombudsman, claiming that they were not prepared to register the environmental liabilities.

According to the lawyer of the Ombudsman, Lizette Vásquez, “just this year the OEFA responded saying that it is planning the identification of the environmental liabilities, implying that field work in the affected zones must begin in order to later create a registry, an essential document so that the State can identify the responsible parties, issues some sort of sanction, such as abandonment of the affected area, and begin a remediation plan.”

The Observatory’s report also quoted the demands of indigenous communities and the difficulties they face in protecting their rights.

“In the case of the organizations of [the rivers] Pastaza, Tigre, Corrientes and Marañón, whose indigenous communities have for 40 years been affected by petroleum activity in the area, they have explicitly asked that a number of environmental liabilities and the social consequences created by them be taken care of before initiating the consultation process for a new concession contract,” says the document.

In April of last year, the state petroleum company Petroperú announced the bid on 22 petroleum lots, including lot 1AB, which is now lot 192.

Producing 15,000 barrels a day, this lot is the largest in the country and is located in the north of the Loreto department, in the Amazon. In accordance with legislation in effect since April of 2012, the first prior consultation process will be over lot 192. However, the indigenous communities that live in this area have announced that they will not allow the process to begin if the environmental liabilities left behind after decades of petroleum activity are not taken care of. —Latinamerica Press.


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