This is the first time I’ve heard of a South American country really laying down the law on its state oil company for a deadly accident or environmental catastrophe. (See prior post for the opposite — a country that helps the state oil company cover up a disaster.) Colombia Reports has a good summary:
The Colombian Comptroller General rules negligence caused the fatal explosion of an Ecopetrol pipeline last December.
33 people, including a six-year-old girl, were killed and many homes destroyed when the pipeline ruptured in Dosquebradas, in the central western department of Risaralda.
Ecopetrol initially claimed the explosion was caused by someone drilling through the pipeline to steal oil, then later blamed landslides — but the Comptroller has now placed responsibility firmly on the company, stating it failed to carry out “timely maintenance.”
Now I know that Colombia gets a lot of flak for its human rights abuses and the ongoing killings of political organizers who oppose mines and other big projects. I am not holding up Colombia as the example for all nations to follow. But I think it’s worth a bit of thought — how is it that they have managed to create enough separation of powers that they can actually control state institutions? I don’t know much of the history of it, but it’s impressive.