Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Chile's Government fines itself for polluting the environment

“These fines are a joke,” said Girardi, adding that companies like state-owned CODELCO should be one of the leading industries cutting back on water pollution.


(Nov. 13, 2007) Magaly Espinosa, the Superintendent of Sanitary Services (SISS), fined 70 public and private companies Monday for polluting Chile’s waters. The fines represent the outcome of an extensive investigation, began in September of last year, during which Chilean businesses were warned to reduce the level of their water pollution.

Out of 174 companies SISS found guilty of polluting waters, annual fines were given out to 52 companies, and monthly fines to 18 companies. The annual fines ranged from 409,440 pesos (US$809) to 16,377,600 pesos (US$32,360).

The only company to receive the maximum sanction was El Teniente, a division of Chile’s National Copper Corporation (CODELCO), the state-owned copper company responsible for roughly half of Chile’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Most companies receiving the higher fines were mining or cellulose companies, including Sociedad Punta del Cobre, S.A., and Celulosa Arauco (CELCO) (Planta Aserradero El Colorado).

Among the companies given monthly fines was the Spanish-owned fishing company Pesca Chile, S.A., which was fined 9.8 million pesos (US$19,360). Artisan beer company Cerveceria Kuntsmann S.A. received the smallest monthly fine at about 2.47 million pesos (US$4,800).

Sen. Guido Girardi (PPD) termed the level of noncompliance with water pollution norms as “catastrophic” because the companies that do not cut down their water pollution levels directly affect the industries that are trying to meet the terms of the new legislation.

(Weak environmental laws in Chile pave the way for foreign owned extraction companies. Example: False Environmental Impact Statements induce Regional Environment Commission to Implement Fines.

This is the opposite in Argentina where local residents have a say about their environment:
Revisiting the Esquel Gold Mine Protest - Argentine community wins mining moratorium , Argentine government will have to get tougher with anti-mining provinces if it wants industry to fulfill potential )

Here is the full article.