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Finally Peru has a new environmental law. But how far will it address the huge legacy of toxic minew

Published by MAC on 2005-10-14

Finally Peru has a new environmental law. But how far will it address the huge legacy of toxic minewastes or prevent them recurring?

Full text (spanish only) - Texto completo de la ley - PDF FILE - 280 KB

Debatable Law of the Environment in Perú

By Alberto García M., Diario La Republica, Peru

October 14, 2005

The Peruvian Congress approved yesterday (73 votes in favor) the text of the General Law of the Environment. The result, after seven hours of prolonged debate, is a Law of the Environment which, according to some congresspersons, is too soft on private companies. In Article 147 of the text proposed by the Comission of Ecology and Environment, the burden of proof in cases of complaints of environmental damages should fall onprivate companies accused of the contamination. But, in the end, this article was not approved.

"How many more Majazes do we want in Perú? So many times the violence is a result of a lack of vision on the part of those who have the power to decide," said the congressperson Henry Pearse, in the strongest moments of the debate. However, congressperson Carlos Ferrero labeled protests against the mining companies as having been manipulated by NGOs and led by groups of the extreme Left. Later, congressperson Javier Diez Canseco spoke out against the continued presence of mining companies in the parliamentary debates on the issue.

CONACAMI national leader Mario Palacios said he was indignant at the decision of Congress regarding the article of the Law of the Environment. "As it has been approved, the law is incomplete, and is a step backwards. We are sorry to say that Congress has put the interests of the companies first in making this decision," he said.

At least 24 hours after the parliamentary debate it became known that the president of the Comission of Environment and Ecology of the Congress, Walter Alejos, had recieved an unexpected visit from Hals Howard, member of the Economic Council of the United States Embassy in Perú. Congressional sources say that the American official asked to enter the legislative building through the back doors, and that the meeting lasted for over an hour.

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