March 12, 2014
‘Glaciers not affected by mining activities’
San Juan province provides report challenging national protection law
A report presented yesterday by the San Juan provincial government said that “there is no current impact, neither already created nor potential” on the Andes glaciers provoked by mining activity or the projects being carried out in Veladero and Pascua Lama.
Governor José Luis Gioja said that a copy of the report will be sent to the Supreme Court, where he hopes that the lawsuit that the province filed against the National Glaciers Protection Law “thrives,” a national law which he considers unconstitutional.
“We will continue complying with the law but always defending our rights,” said Gioja.
According to the report, prepared with provincial data and studies provided by companies related to the sector, “to the extent where the measures of protection, monitoring and prevention established are implemented, there isn’t a significant potential impact on the glaciers.”
The study, centred on the mining projects of Veladero and Pascua Lama, states that in these locations “no environmental impact was identified or quantified on the glaciers or the periglacial surrounding, contemplated by Article 2 of National Law 26,639.”
“There is no objective evidence which suggests that there is not full compliance with Law 26,639,” also known as the Glacier Protection Law, said the report.
Gioja continued defending mining activity, saying: “We are a federal country and the provinces have their autonomy, supported by their rights to it.”
“Before the passing of this (national) law, the province had already created a Provincial Glacier Protection Council and passed a provincial law to protect the glaciers,” said Gioja.
The provincial law which Gioja refers to faced opposition from environmental groups and national lawmakers because compared to the law passed by Congress after an initial presidential veto, it was not providing total protection to the masses of ice which provided water to the lower rivers. — Herald with DyN