Colombia’s State Council suspends fracking in the country

The State Council temporarily suspended the government regulations that set the criteria for the exploitation of hydrocarbons through fracking

Colombia's State Council suspends fracking in the country

On Friday, November 9, the high court reported on the decision to temporarily suspend the Decree 3004 of December 26, 2013, and the Resolution 90341 of March 27, 2014. With these, the National Government established the criteria for exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in unconventional deposits.

Leer en español: Colombia: el Consejo de Estado frena el uso del fracking en el país

According to La FM, the decision was in the hands of the Third Section magistrate and vice president of the Corporation, Ramiro Pazos Guerrero. In the statement, it was explained that the "authorization in Colombia for the application of 'fracking' can cause a serious impact on the environment and the human health."

"There are numerous studies that predict that the use of this technology may have a negative impact on the preservation of the environment and human health and, for this reason, several countries have decreed its prohibition," the decision indicated. In addition, they considered relevant the conclusions made by the Comptroller in 2012.

It also noted that "the increase of the seismic activity, the water pollution and the consequent affectation of healthiness caused by fracking were potentially risky, especially if the technique was developed in areas of protected areas and strategic ecosystems, such as the moors. Also, it was warned that the Colombian context imposed particular demands that should be analyzed with extreme care," the magistrate's decision reads.

The State Council pointed out that the precautionary principle should be applied, "since even when there is no absolute scientific certainty, there is minimal evidence of potential harm arising from the apparent deficiency of the measures adopted in the administrative acts demanded when authorizing a questioned technique."

Faced with this decision, Daniela García, an environmental engineer and lawyer of Alianza Colombia Libre de Fracking, assured El País of the importance of this. According to her, it is fundamental because "it becomes a precedent when applying the precautionary principle to the potential risks and the impacts that could derive from the application of this technique in Colombia".

It may interest you: Is fracking the most harmful form of energy production?

What remains to be done?

The Colombian Petroleum Association (ACP, by its acronym in Spanish) reported that the use of the fracking technique would represent an opportunity for Colombia to generate fiscal revenues of $ 1.5 billion per year in taxes, economic rights, dividends, and royalties, according to El Comercio. It also established that a single project of unconventional deposits could generate at least 5,000 jobs.

This is why the government integrated a group of experts that, between November and January, will have to make known the way in which the country should approach the exploration and exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbon deposits.

In the first place, dialogue tables will be set up to listen to the concerns of the communities in the areas that have the potential for these hydrocarbons, reports El Tiempo. Then a review of the existing technical and environmental regulatory framework will be made. Finally, the implications for energy security and tax revenue for the country will be reviewed.

LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez

Translated from "Consejo de Estado frena el uso del fracking en Colombia"

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