jueves, 5 de abril de 2012

Peruvian Congress Should Not Let Doe Run Pressure it into Granting an Extension in La Oroya

San Francisco – As the Peruvian legislature debates a bill to extend the US mining company Doe Run Peru’s (DRP) environmental remediation obligations (known by its Spanish acronym, PAMA) for a third time, DRP is using questionable legal tactics to pressure the government of Peru to allow it to reopen its La Oroya smelter before it completes those requirements—including an $800 million dollar demand in an arbitration tribunal.  “The Peruvian government must not allow the La Oroya Metallurgical Complex to reopen unless the company has completed its environmental requirements,” declared the international organizations Earthjustice and the Inter-American Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) in a press release on Tuesday. 
The Renco Group, parent company of DRP, has lodged a claim in an international arbitration tribunal against the State of Peru for US $800 million– the expected award in a case in Missouri against Renco brought by children poisoned by lead in La Oroya.  DRP is demanding that Peru assume liability in that case.  In light of this, it is imperative to make clear that even if the Peruvian Congress were to grant DRP another PAMA extension and allow the metallurgical complex to reopen, this would have no impact on Renco’s arbitration claim that Peru pay it US $800 million. 

If the Peruvian Congress believes that it could or should grant another PAMA extension, it should insist on at least three non-negotiable points: 

First, that the Renco Group drop its international arbitration claim. 

Second, that Doe Run agree that it will assume any liability in Missouri related to contamination stemming from the smelter in La Oroya. 

• Three, that DRP complete all of its environmental requirements—before starting any operation—so that Peru can begin its soil remediation efforts and protect the health and human rights of the children of La Oroya.

“The Peruvian Congress must recognize that no extension of any kind would ensure that the company will drop its claim or will complete its environmental requirements.  The $800 million dollar arbitration claim has nothing to do with whether Peru should allow DRP to continue operating the Complex.  And the risks to health—and the economy from possible claims against Peru—are too grave for Peru to approve a PAMA extension.  If Peru does this, it will be vulnerable to liability arising from future cases brought by third parties for harm suffered in La Oroya,” said Anna Cederstav of Earthjustice and AIDA.

“We cannot continue to be seen as a weak country that cedes to pressure from an irresponsible company….The Peru that we all want is one that ensures compliance with the laws it created as our government, free from any particular interest,” said César Ipenza, of the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA).


Astrid Puentes, AIDA (+52) 155 23016639, apuentes@aida-americas.org

Abby Rubinson, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2047, arubinson@earthjustice.org

César Ipenza, Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental, Perú, (+511) 4222720, cipenza@spda.org.pe

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