Friday, November 14, 2008

Argentina vetoes glacier law that curbed mining

Reuters: Argentina's president has vetoed a law protecting the country's glaciers that would have restricted mining and oil drilling, officials and environmental campaigners said on Friday. The law, which was passed by Congress last month, might have complicated plans by the world's biggest gold miner, Barrick Gold Corp, to build a $2.4 billion mine straddling the snowy Andean peaks between Argentina and Chile.

But President Cristina Fernandez used her veto, saying in a decree that governors in Andean provinces feared the glacier law could threaten economic development in their regions. "Banning mining and oil exploration and extraction ... would give environmental considerations preeminence over activities that could be undertaken in a way that protects the environment," said the decree, published earlier this week in the government's official gazette.

…Environmental campaigners condemned the government's veto of the glacier law, which they saw as a vital tool to protect and study glaciers in the face of global warming. "If these natural storage tanks of fresh water supply us with drinking water, supply farming, industry and help generate electricity, then we think water is worth more than gold," said Norberto Ovando, vice president of the Friends of the National Parks association….

Argentina's Upsala Glacier, shot by David, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

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