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Organizaciones from across the Americas met in Colombia recently to debate strategies to contain the incipient evolution of hydraulic fracturing.
The international meeting, organized by the Heinrich Boell Foundation, was the second regional conference of the Latin American Association in the Face of Fracking (ALFF, by its Spanish acronym). Environmental and human rights organizations from the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil and Argentina gather for a week long session of strategy meetings, site visits, town-hall meetings and interviews with press, as well as a session held in Colombia’s Congress, who is now considering a bill to ban fracking outright.
The international fracking experts, active in numerous other countries, toured Colombia’s traditional oil and gas areas, including the Magdalena Medio and Boyacá regions. They visited Puerto Wilches, Puente Sogamoso, San Martin, Villa de Leyva, Chiquinquira, Ráquira, Sachica, and Tunja during the week long stint. The group also visited Colombia’s first experimental fracking well known as Pico Plata near San Martin Santander.
Colombia is submersed in a heated debate at present regarding the future of fracking in the country, as numerous congressional representatives are weighing in on a debate over a bill to fully ban hydraulic operations in the country. The Colombian Alliance Against Fracking presented the bill alongside Senators and governors that have already taken a position to halt any further experiments with the controversial oil and gas procedure, already banned in a number of countries and in hundreds of subnational jurisdictions around the world.
The Center for Human Rights and Environment, one of the members of the ALFF network, was in Colombia for the meetings and delivered a presentation before the Colombian Congress encouraging congressional representatives to consider carefully what model of developed they desired for their country, particularly concerning the very high risks fracking operations pose for the local hydrology, but also the implications of further fossil fuel developments considering the global efforts to curtail and reverse climate change trends.
Link to the Colombian bill to ban fracking (in Spanish only):
Local media coverage of visits (in Spanish only):
Alberto Castilla, Senador
Business and Human Rights Resource Center