Peru to ‘eliminate’ key environmental rule for oil and gas firms, says minister

March 11, 2014

The Peruvian government is planning a new law loosening the social and environmental checks on companies exploring for oil and gas, according to a controversial announcement by the Energy Minister.

Current law states that companies must research and write “Environmental Impact Assessments” (EIAs) of proposed operations before submitting them to the government for approval and then beginning exploration.

However, Energy Minister Eleodoro Mayorga Alba announced this week that oil and gas companies planning to explore by conducting seismic tests will be exempt from the EIA process. Speaking at an event in Lima, he said that Energy Ministry and Environment Ministry personnel are currently working on the law and had reached several agreements:

[One] agreement is to eliminate environmental impact assessments for seismic operations. The [oil and gas] industry has its laws, the industry has principles, it has well-established practices, and the idea is to move away from procedures and permissions to action. The companies know what they have to do.

Mayorga’s comments were reported by Peruvian newspaper Gestion which stated that the new law, according to the minister, is intended to “accelerate investment in the oil and gas sector.”

“I hope to be able to sign this law, together with the Environment Minister [Manuel] Pulgar-Vidal, and propose its enforcement in the next few days,” Gestion reported Mayorga, who was sworn in as minister on 25 February, saying.

Copyright, The Guardian, 2014.