Latin America Green News: concerns mount about seabed mining in Mexico, growing renewable market in Chile, new deforestation law in Paraguay

Latin America Green News is a selection of weekly news highlights about environmental and energy issues in Latin America.

October 4th – October 10th, 2014


In Mexico, Exploraciones Oceanicas, a Mexican subsidiary of a the US Company, Odyssey Marine Explorations, has submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a planned mining project in the Gulf of Ulloa by the town of Comondu. The “Don Diego” project would entail dredging ninety-one thousand acres of seabed to extract 350 million tons of phosphate over a fifty year period and has raised serious concerns about its effect on sea turtle populations, whale migratory routes, local fisheries, and the rich biodiversity in the area. (Baja California Sur Noticias 10/7/2014)

A study this week reported last month’s oil spill in the Bay of Quintero, Chile, originally thought to be approximately 3,000 liters, ended up being a total of 22,000 liters.  The spill was caused by an operational error on the ship Mimosa during the discharge process. The company said it will take charge of both the environmental and social damage to the affected community in efforts to remedy the situation and have already begun the clean-up process.  A special session of the Chamber of Deputies convened to analyze the consequences of the spill and move forward with the National Petroleum Company’s (ENAP) investigation. Discussions focused on determining responsibility, generating an emergency action and new decontamination plan, and providing indemnities and economic assistance for local residents and businesses.  (24 Horas 10/3/2014; Grupo Editorial Editec, 10/9/2014)


In an effort to stop deforestation, Paraguay’s National Commission for Protection of Natural Resources introduced a bill that would penalize illegal possession of timber, trafficking, logging, deforestation itself, and punish public servants and consultants who conceal or distort permit documents. (La Nacion 10/7/2014)

Renewable Energy

Chile has become the world’s top market for renewable energy and a favorite of energy companies looking to invest. Since taking office, President Michelle Bachelet has approved 76 solar and wind projects and with 4,000 miles of windy coast and the world’s sunniest dessert, the large amount of untapped renewable energy resources give boundless potential. This week, Deputy Secretary of Energy, Jimena Jara, visited the opening of a photovoltaic laboratory which the government hopes will create capacity for the future. (Bloomberg 10/7/2014; Electricidad 10/72014)

The implementation of the energy reform in Mexico is projected to potentially trigger some 18 billion dollars of private investments in clean and efficient energy in the coming years. Luis Farias, President of the Commission on Private Sector Studies for Sustainable Development says the country’s economic growth in the future will be directly related to the energy sector. (Dinero en Imagen 10/08/2014)

Climate Change

During a press conference this week, Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, said the fight against climate change demands coordinated initiatives throughout the planet. Calling current environmental problems a “major threat to the survival of the human species” Patiño indicated that citizens must play a fundamental role in demanding action on climate change and creating necessary political will.  (Prensa Latina 10/9/2014)

This week, Caribbean countries participated in a Caribbean week of Agriculture roundtable focused on promoting policies and practices that will help farmers adapt to the effects of climate change. Animal heat stress, salt water intrusion, and eutrophication of soil are all issues that pose a threat to the future of the agricultural sector in the region. (Inter Press Service 10/9/2014)

For more news on the issues we care about visit our Latin America Green News archive or read our other International blogs