Monday, February 22, 2016

Colombian Court Bans Oil, Gas and Mining Operations in Paramos

The Sumapaz paramo in Colombia - one of numerous paramos declared off-limits to oil, gas and mining operations by the country’s Constitutional Court. (Photograph Credit: Fernando Vergara/AP) Click to Enlarge.
Colombia’s Constitutional Court has ruled against a controversial legal loophole permitting oil, gas and mining operations in the country’s paramos - high altitude eco-systems.  Colombia’s paramos are the most extensive on earth and supply more than 70% of the country’s population with water, according to the Bogota-based Alexander von Humboldt Institute.

The loophole is in a June 2015 law implementing Colombia’s “National Development Plan 2014-2018.”  The law prohibits “agricultural activities” and the “exploration for or exploitation of non-renewable natural resources”, as well as the “construction of oil and gas refineries”, in paramos, but then states that mining operations which have contracts and environmental licenses dating to before 9 February 2010, or oil and gas operations with contracts and licenses dating to before 16 June 2011, are exempted.
According to a communiqué by the court issued on 8 February, the offending three paragraphs “ignore the constitutional duty to protect areas of special ecological importance [and] put at risk the fundamental rights of the entire population to access good quality water.”

Read more at Colombian Court Bans Oil, Gas and Mining Operations in Paramos

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