Another possible Colombia oil-environment fight

Photo from La Silla Vacia, taken by Camila Rivera

Reader and site friend CD points us to this story in the always fascinating Silla Vacia website about a brewing fight over Colombia’s offshore oil and natural gas exploration concessions. Long story short is they gave a concession that includes some pristine Caribbean islands, and there are people who aren’t happy about risking a Deepwater Horizon disaster in their neighborhood. A bit of the story, translated:

Providencia Island: The new Santurban?

After their first victory in Santurban, a new front is opened for the environmentalists: Providencia Island….

The Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos (ANH) in its 2010 Colombia Round of last June granted to Ecopetrol, in partnership with the Spanish company Repsol and the Argentine YPF, exploration rights to 944,000 hectares named Cayo 1 and another, of over 1 million hectares, known as Cayo 5. Both are located in the Caribbean Sea, near the archipelago along the Jamaican marine border (see map) where there is thought to be gas.

…[Environmentalists oppose exploration because] in their opinion, the granting violated not only environmental law but also the Constitution, as the ANH didn’t conduct a prior consultation with local indigenous groups…. corals… how to take advantage of bonanza mineral prices while continuing to be one of the most biodiverse countries in the world… this isn’t the Chilean desert…

Coralina has identified 407 species of fish, 48 of hard coral, 54 soft corals, two anemones, three jellyfish, 130 echinoderms (starfish and sea urchins), 37 types of mollusk and the same number of crustacean (lobster, crab and prawn), 38 types of sea urchins, five cetaceans (whales, killer whales, belugas), 157 bird species, three sea grasses, four mangroves, an endemic sea turtle. In total, Providencia Island has 192 species in the “red list” as being in danger of extinction.

OMG must visit…

Just noting that this issue of Colombia granting exploration rights before conducting environmental due diligence is nothing new.