Complaints in Argentina about fuel-oil use
Buenos Aires, Argentina
In April 2004, Argentina signed an agreement with Venezuela under which it would receive 1.5 million cubic meters of fuel oil annually in exchange for cattle, food and oil-field pipe and tubing.
The deal came at an important time. About to enter the southern-hemisphere winter, Argentina was facing bottlenecks in its supply of natural gas, a key fuel source both for electricity generation and home heating. The previous month, these bottlenecks had prompted rolling shutdowns of industrial gas service. The agreement eased the fuel squeeze on power plants and allowed a tightening of ties between Argentine President Néstor Kirchner and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
But three years later, the accord has become the subject of hot debate in Argentina, with the Buenos Aires municipal ombudsman’s office charging that local power plants’ use of fuel oil is exacerbating air-quality problems.
The ombudsman’s office says that since local plants were not adequately adapted to liquid fuel, their combustion of fuel oil has led to problems including air contamination and acid rain in the greater Buenos Aires region. The federal government rejects the charge.
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