Around the Region

Chile postpones decision on border-straddling mine

Chilean environmental authorities are postponing their final decision on Canadian company Barrick Gold’s plans for a gold, silver and copper mining project that would straddle the Chilean-Argentine border high in the Andes. Environmental officials overseeing Chile’s Third Region, 800 miles north of Santiago, had been expected to make a final ruling on Barrick’s environmental-impact statement by Dec. 9, just two days before the country’s presidential elections. But the regional director of Conama, Chile’s lead environmental agency, told reporters on Dec. 5 that his staff would extend for 60 days—until February—its evaluation of the revised impact study, which was filed Nov. 10. The director, Plácido Avila, said Conama needs more time to “make a definitive judgment.” The 20-year, US$1.4 billion...

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CEC launches drive to save six species

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has issued plans to boost protection for six animal species found in Mexico, the United States and Canada: the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), pink-footed shearwater (Puffinus creatopus), burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) and ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis). Cooperating with federal officials, scientists, academics and green advocates from all three countries, the tri-lateral agency selected the species based on such factors as their location, the state of knowledge about the threats against them and the likelihood of success. “We’re taking a holistic approach to wildlife conservation by acting to save critical habitat, addressing human activities that threaten each species, and garnering public support to effect change,” Hans Herrmann, head...

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Chilean Congress to vote on native-forest legislation

Native-forest legislation that has bounced around the Chilean Congress in a variety of forms for the past 13 years once again faces stiff opposition in the Senate, which is expected to vote on the measure as soon as next month. The bill, intended to spur conservation of Chile’s 32.6 million acres (13.2 million has) of native forest, appeared to be headed for passage in 2001. At that time, key environmental groups had joined the timber industry in supporting a version of the bill floated by Conaf, Chile’s forest service. But the 2001 legislation did not win passage. And now, the green groups that backed it—among them leading Chilean organizations such as Terram, Codeff and Defenders of the Chilean Forest—are working to kill...

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