CONGRESSMEN JOIN IN PRESENTING 16,000 LETTERS FOR LA OROYAPublished by MAC on 2006-02-25
CONGRESSMEN JOIN IN PRESENTING 16,000 LETTERS FOR LA OROYA
Former Doe Run Allies Publicly Criticize Company
25th February 2006
Lima, Peru. The President of the Commission on the Environment of Peru?s National Congress, Congressman Walter Alejos, and the representative of the Pasco Region, Congressman Eduardo Carhuaricra, yesterday joined a group of several hundred citizens from La Oroya and Lima in presenting more than 16,000 letters to the Minister of Energy and Mines, Glodomiro Sánchez.
The letters, received from 55 countries on five continents, ask that the Minister consider the health of La Oroya's children when he makes his decision on the Doe Run Company's requested delay of compliance with Peruvian environmental standards.
A recent study by the Saint Louis University (Missouri, USA) revealed that lead levels among La Oroya's population have not dropped during the years Doe Run has operated the mineral smelter and that levels of arsenic, cadmium and antimony are ?extremely high?. According to Doe Run reports, the La Oroya smelter emits more than 1000 tons of toxins every day over this city of 40,000 people.
According to Occupational Knowledge International, the Doe Run proposed improvements would still permit lead emissions eleven times greater than those allowed at Doe Run's smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri. Under the plan, emissions of arsenic, a proven cancer-causing toxin, would be permitted up to 1145 the amount permitted in Herculaneum.
Public criticism of Doe Run's attempt to postpone its environmental compliance "due to financial hardship" has grown rapidly after company documents filed with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission showed that Doe Run had sent back to its U.S. headquarters $130 million during the period in "commissions and consulting fees".
The National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Electric Companies (SNMPE), which includes most of Peru's large mining companies, last week publicly criticized Doe Run's environmental management and called upon the company to allocate the investment needed to respond to the needs of human health in La Oroya. Public criticism of a member company by the Society is unprecedented in the history of the organization.
On February 21, the Peruvian state-owned mining company and former owner of the La Oroya smelter, Centromin-Peru issued a terse declaration, stating that recent Doe Run Company claims to have reduced air emissions by 34% and water pollution by 76% since 1994 are "absolutely false" and insisted that company claims be proven by scientific data.
The previous week, the Peruvian Government's Public Ombudsman criticized the Government?s "very questionable" management of the environmental situation of La Oroya and called on the Government to immediately address the health problems in La Oroya and to revise and update the current Air Quality Standards.
Peru's Energy and Mines Ministry has stated it will rule on the Doe Run request in early May.