Latin America Green News: Chile: Chile rejects HidroAysén, Costa Rica needs new vision, Mexico energy reform laws
Posted June 13, 2014
Latin America Green News is a selection of weekly news highlights about environmental and energy issues in Latin America.
June 7th-13th, 2014
Chile’s Committee of Ministers voted unanimously to reject the HidroAysén hydroelectric project after reviewing the 35 pending appeals against the dams. The Committee’s decision points to three central faults: the lack of a relocation plan for people affected by the dams, inadequate evaluation of the impacts of changes to the ecosystem’s hydrology; and inconsistences with regard to the baseline for terrestrial wildlife that made it impossible to quantify impacts and determine mitigation and compensation measures. Once notified of the decision, the company has thirty days to appeal it before the Third Environmental Tribunal in Valdivia, which could take up to a year to make a determination. (El Dinamo 6/10/2014; El Dinamo 6/13/2014)
Over the coming weeks, the Ministry of Environment will be prioritizing a new Environmental Evaluation Strategy regulation. This new statute will be key for the approval of a series of new public policies that form one of the pillars of President Bachelet’s energy agenda including: sectoral and communal regulatory plans, as well as coastal, marine and watershed zoning instruments. As part of this process, the expectation is that each region will determine which watersheds to prioritize for development. (Revista Electricidad 6/13/2014)
Despite the growing threat of climate change, Costa Rica appears to be lagging behind other Latin American countries in effectively promoting renewable energy. Climate change expert, Monica Araya, calls for a new vision for Costa Rica that is focused on creating a modern, clean and secure country with clean and efficient energy and transportation systems; and guided by appropriated land use planning that protects resources and people. (Diario Extra 6/10/2014).
The municipality of Cartago is the first Costa Rican municipality to sign an agreement to protect the environment. Cartago has committed to protect 365 hectares of forest and 150 hectares expected to regenerate naturally. Cartago will also be responsible for 35 hectares of reforestation. An agreement was signed with the National Forestry Financing Fund to strengthen payments for environmental services in these areas. (CR Hoy 6/7/2014).
The Senate Energy Commission has publicly submitted its draft of secondary laws for energy reform. The proposed laws would open the door for Mexico to import electricity even without using the Federal Energy Commission’s transmission lines. The draft would also impose heavy fines on anyone who tries to steal or illegally sell electricity. The draft also attempts to clarify the process through which electricity generators must reach agreements with land owners. (Excelsior 6/13/2014).
Mexican coastal and island communities stand to suffer greatly from rising ocean levels due to climate change. If no mitigation effects are taken, 42.6% of the Gulf of Mexico will be affected by rising ocean levels. These rising levels will also affect tourism and fishing markets and cause more intense hurricanes. According to exerts all entities, governmental, scientific and society, must work together to fund, study and implement action against these effects. (Investigación y Desarollo 6/11/2014).
Nineteen countries from the Americas have formed a GLOBE Chapter of the Americas as a result of the recent GLOBE World Summit of Legislators. The chapter will focus on viable ways to protect their natural resources, promote sustainable and green development and economies, and make the protection of the environment a philosophy of life rather than a political tool. It hopes to present some concrete ideas at the upcoming global climate summits in Lima, Peru and Paris, France. The chapter will be working in conjunction with international organizations such as The World Bank to obtain funds for their projects. (El País 6/9/2014).