Latin America Climate, Energy and Environment News: Week of 3.7-3.13.2011


Mexico, United States and Canada will become the gray whale's eyes to the world when they jointly launch The "Gray Whale Project," providing an expedition to follow the whales along their migration route.  The gray whale makes the longest migration of any marine mammal; it covers 20,000 km annually.  (Econonoticias, March 11, 2011)

After protesting the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources’s (SEMARNAT) handling of the environmental review process for the proposed Cabo Cortés resort complex, Greenpeace has accepted SEMARNAT’s invitation to establish a dialogue, to explain the mechanisms of environmental protection and discuss the partial approval of the tourist project Cabo Cortés. (Notimex, March 10, 2011)

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of just three Latin American countries with legislation that addresses toxic waste.  Under this legislation, producers and users must take responsibility of toxic waste and the Ministry of Health must authorize entities to manage toxic residues.  However, insufficient data on the amount of waste generated and lack of recycling capability means Costa Rica is lagging behind in efforts to deal with toxic waste.   (El Financiero, March 14, 2011)

Urged on by Costa Rica, the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic have agreed to unify norms to regulate organic agriculture.  The regional norms are the result of three years of negotiation, and are based on the internationally accepted Codex Alimentarius. (La Nacion, March 13, 2011)


On Wednesday, March 9th, Daniel Fernández, president of HidroAysén, the company proposing a massive hydroelectric complex in Patagonia, presented the company’s plan for its 2000 kilometer-long transmission line to the Mining and Energy Commission in Congress.  There was not enough time in the two hour session for Fernández to answer all of the Deputies’ questions, so the session will continue this coming Wednesday.  (, March 10, 2011)

After years of speculation that HidroAysén and Energía Austral, the owner of another proposed large hydroelectric project in the Patagonia, would share the transmission line to connect their projects to the main electric grid, the companies announced that they would not do so.  Instead, each will propose its own line, which would result in two separate, parallel lines. (La Tercera, March 6, 2011)

The ongoing drought in Chile continues to affect the country’s hydroelectric generation, with reservoir levels at their lowest since 1999.  (Electricidad Interamericana, March 8, 2011)  As energy supply is increasing in the national spotlight, some are questioning the government’s claim that Chile’s demand will double by 2020 and triple by 2030, projections that are used to justify the approval of large energy projects like HidroAysén and Castilla.  (La Tercera, March 8, 2011)

Authorities are investigating a mysterious black spill off the coast of Mejillones, in the north of Chile.  As of March 9th, the source of the spill and what material it is was still unknown, and it reached about a mile in length.   Suspicions immediately fell on Gas Atacama, a nearby natural gas facility, although no charges have been filed.

Note: The linked articles and excerpts in this post are provided for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the Natural Resources Defense Council.