Latin American Climate, Energy and Environment News: Week of 6.11 - 6.17.2011


The plummeting approval ratings of President Piñera’s Administration due to HidroAysén’s approval received notice in international press, which was covered, in turn, by national media.  (The Economist, 6/14/2011; La Segunda, 6/16/2011) 

The Human Rights Commission of the Chamber of Deputies announced that it will travel to Coyhaique to hear testimony against HidroAysén from groups and individuals in the capital city of the Patagonian region of Aysén who were unable to make the trip to Valparaíso, where Congress sits.  (El Mercurio, 6/14/2011). 

Chile’s National Emergency Service sounded ‘preventative’ alerts for three volcanoes that are showing early signs of activity: Hudson Volcano, Melimoyu Volcano and Plachón Peteroa Volcano.  All three could affect local communities if they erupt.  The Puyehue Volcano erupted on June 4, forcing 3500 people to evacuate their towns. (La Gran Época, 6/15/2011)

Costa Rica

Legislators and civil society groups in Costa Rica have formed the “Frente Nacional de Lucha Contra la Actividad Petrolera en Costa Rica” (National Front to Fight the Oil Industry in Costa Rica) in response to news that the government is evaluating the possibility of signing a contract with Mallon Oil Company, which holds an oil and gas exploration concession in northern Costa Rica.  The group is joined by former President Pacheco who signed a moratorium against oil drilling during his presidency in 2002. (Inside Costa Rica, 6/17/2011). Representatives from four political parties are now pushing forward a proposed bill that would prohibit oil exploration in Costa Rica. ( La Nación, 6/16/2011) President Chinchilla has said she would not support oil drilling, but is open to natural gas projects which she considers a cleaner source of energy.  According to Environment and Energy Minister de la Torre no environmental impact study has been approved by MINAET or SETENA yet, and a study must first be conducted before any exploration process begins. (Tico Times, 6/17/2011)

Costa Rica’s Promérica Bank will provide $13 million in credit to companies that want to improve their energy efficiency, renew their vehicle fleet, or build energy efficient buildings.  Promérica joins BAC San José , Banco Popular and the financer Desyfin in providing this type of loan.  The funds for Promérica’s credit lines will be provided the Inter-American Development Bank which seeks to place additional funds with other local banks.  (La Nación, 6/13/2011)


The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources will announce the rejection of the proposal to build a new terminal in the port city of Tuxpan in front of SSA Mexico’s property this week.  The decision falls in line with the pledge made by President Felipe Calderón and Secretary of Environment Juan Elvira, to safeguard the mangroves in the Gulf of Mexico, which are part of the global biosphere reserves (RAMSAR Sites 1602) that serve as natural barriers to hurricanes affecting the country. (El Economista, 6/13/11)

In order to improve the quality of life for people living near the San Buenaventura River, with the construction of parks and a healthier environment, the Director General of the National Water Commission (Conagua), José Luis Luege and the Chief Delegation de Tlalpan, Higinio Chavez Garcia, agreed to implement new Programs like “Rivers and Ravines,” and “Water and Wastewater in Urban Areas (APAZU)”, among others. (Semarnat, 6/16/11)


Walmart Mexico & Central America announced twenty sustainability commitments that the company aims to achieve in the region over the next three years.  The commitments include meeting all energy needs with 100% renewable energy, reducing green house gas emissions from all stores and distribution centers by 20%, and utilizing LED lighting in all their facilities.  The company will also reduce their plastic bags by 50% by 2012 and promote organic products.  (Revista Summa, 6/16/2011)

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.

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