PERU'S ENVIRONMENT MINISTER FAILS TO APPEAR AT CONGRESS HEARING

Peru’s Environment minister Elsa Galarza failed to appear at a hearing of the Congress’s Commission on the Environment yesterday despite being invited to attend and appearing on the agenda for the hearing. What had the Commission hoped to ask Galarza about? Principally, the recently unveiled proposals by the Environment Ministry to roll back air quality standards across Peru for sulphur dioxide and some particular matter. According to NGOs like AIDA, APRODEH and others following the issue, the reason for such proposals is obvious: to facilitate the sale of a notorious poly-metal smelter in the Andes in a town called La Oroya, which 10 years ago was dubbed one of the top 10 most polluted places on earth. For years the smelter has been ultimately under the control of the US’s Renco Group, but is now administered by liquidators - and Peru’s current standards for sulphur dioxide are reported to be scaring off potential investors. Hence the proposal to cut them. See my recent article in The Guardian. (03-05-17)

David Hill