Around the Region

Court suspends large Argentine oil project

An Argentine court has ordered the suspension of a project in Mendoza province to drill for oil at Llancanelo Lagoon, an internationally recognized wetland. In a March 14 decision, the Supreme Court for Mendoza province ruled favorably on a complaint lodged by the Mendoza environmental group Oikos Red Ambiental. Oikos argued that the US$200 million oil project by the Spanish-owned company Repsol-YPF would contravene the Argentine Constitution’s Article 41, which grants citizens the right to a healthy environment, as well as a Mendoza law (6045) prohibiting oil and mining activity in the province’s protected areas. It also alleged deficiencies in the project’s environmental-impact assessment—among them, that the project failed to fulfill public-hearings requirements, inaccurately described the boundaries of the...

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Latin fishing lobbies seek say in tuna-labeling case

A panel of U.S. judges is scheduled to hear a request next month by the Mexican and Venezuelan tuna industries that they be allowed to take part in a court case concerning the relaxation of U.S. “Dolphin Safe” tuna labeling restrictions. The two fishing lobbies want a say in litigation that U.S. green groups initiated in 2003 to prevent the dolphin-safe label from being applied to imported tuna caught by encircling mixed schools of dolphin and tuna with vast purse-seine nets. The Bush administration on Dec. 31, 2002 issued a finding that this practice would cause “no significant adverse impacts,” a move that would have allowed foreign tuna suppliers using the method to label their U.S.-bound fish as “Dolphin Safe.” Refinement of...

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Approval expected soon for big Brazilian water project

Brazilian environmental authorities expect they soon will approve a US$1.7 billion government project to divert water from Brazil’s second largest river basin to the arid northeast region despite debate over the project’s usefulness and environmental impacts. “Although a project this big will have some environmental impact, this agency will probably give it a preliminary license by the end of April [or] early May,” says Luiz Felippe Kunz, licensing director for Ibama, Brazil’s environmental enforcement agency. “Before we award a [definitive] construction license, however, we’ll need to see details on how the project will be managed and how its environmental impacts will be minimized. So, I don’t believe project construction would begin until late this year.” The project calls for building two systems of canals...

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