Monday, July 21, 2014

New Law Wipes Out One Nation's Environmental Protections

That 'streamlining' - - gutting really - - is taking place in Peru, host nation to the next major UN conference on climate change, regardless of the contradiction:
The law, aimed at increasing investment, strips Peru's six-year-old environment ministry of jurisdiction over air, soil and water quality standards, as well as its ability to set limits for harmful substances. It also eliminates the ministry's power to establish nature reserves exempt from mining and oil-drilling.
The nation pocked by more than 300 major mines already offers the industry incentives unmatched in the Americas, even by mining-friendly Chile and Mexico.
Enacted July 11 by President Ollanta Humala after limited debate in Congress, the new law also further streamlines environmental reviews for new projects, and, for the next three years, lowers by half the maximum fines for all but the most serious of environmental violations.
At the same time, it re-establishes tax breaks for big mining multinationals, which already enjoy such benefits as simultaneous, indefinite concessions for both exploration and exploitation as long as they make nominal payments. In some Peruvian states, more than half the territory is under concession.
"As far as Latin America goes, we are the country backpedaling the most," said Jose de Echave, a former deputy environment minister.
I'll bet there's some serious Peruvian dreamin' in the home and lobbying offices of a certain Wisconsin GTac mining firm which helped engineer a bit of 'streamlined' Wisconsin law under open-for-business Walker.

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