Lauca water-extraction project suspended


Chilean President Ricardo Lagos has suspended a controversial plan to extract water from aquifers beneath Lauca National Park, located on the Bolivian border in northern Chile’s Atacama desert. In mid-August, after years of contentious debate, the Regional Environmental Commission (Corema) for Chile’s Tarapaca region, or Region 1, had approved an environmental-impact study for the project, which the government submitted in 2000. Corema said it authorized the water extraction to “revitalize agricultural activity in the Azapa Valley, in addition to other uses.” But the decision touched off a firestorm of criticism from environmental groups, some Aymara indigenous organizations, politicians, and even Conaf, the agency that manages Chile’s national parks. The about-face came this month, when Lagos, preparing to make a trip to the... [Log in to read more]

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