41 members of Congress from 8 parties back law that would ban fracking in Colombia
Photo: Senator Iván Cepeda Castro is one of the 41 members of Congress who back a proposed law that would ban fracking in Colombia.
On August 10, Semana Sostenible reported: “Environmentalists and congressmen came together today to present a bill banning the exploration and exploitation of non-conventional deposits of hydrocarbons in the Colombian territory with fracking, a technique that the national government has been insisting on.”
Amaylis Llanos of the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking says: “There are three main reasons, the protection of the environment and health, to prevent the socio-environmental conflicts that the practice of this activity leaves behind and to contribute to the fulfillment of the goals of the Paris Agreement, which is the law [Law 1844 of 2017] of the Republic and to advance towards the energy transition.”
El Heraldo reports that there are 41 members of Congress from 8 political parties that support this legislation. Those parties include the Green Alliance, the Liberal Party, the Alternative Democratic Pole, the FARC Party, the U Party, Colombia Humana, Radical Change, and the Alternative Indigenous and Social Movement (MAIS).
The members of Congress supporting the legislation include: Iván Cepeda, Gustavo Petro, Angélica Lozano, Gustavo Bolívar, Juan Carlos Losada, Jorge Robledo, Roy Barreras, Julián Peinado, Aída Avella, Pablo Catatumbo, Mauricio Toro, Ciro Fernández, Antonio Sanguino, María José Pizarro and Fabian Díaz.
The social movements supporting this law include the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking, the Podion Corporation, the Yariguíes Regional Corporation – Social Research Group into Extractives and the Environment in the Magdalena Medio Region (CRY-GEAM), and the National Water Network of Colombia.
On June 11, Business News Americas reported: “Colombia is on track to award contracts for fracking pilots this year as the government fast tracks plans for unconventional oil and gas drilling, according to a senior energy official.”
That article quotes Armando Zamora, the head of national hydrocarbons regulator ANH, who says the contracts will be awarded in September or October.
Three Canadian companies are reportedly bidding for those contracts.
Toronto-based Sintana Energy and its subsidiary Patriot Energy Oil & Gas Inc. are reportedly part of a joint venture with ExxonMobil to frack the VMM-37 bock near Puerto Wilches, Santander. And Calgary-based Canacol Energy Ltd. and its subsidiary CNE Oil and Gas are reportedly partnered with ConocoPhillips to frack the VMM-2 and VMM-3 blocks near Puerto Patiño and San Martin, Cesar.
Last year, along with ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Ecopetrol, Colombian Mines and Energy Minister Maria Fernanda Suarez noted that Calgary-based Parex Resources was among the companies seeking to frack in Colombia.
It is expected that the fracking pilot projects will begin in 2021.
Peace Brigades International provides accompaniment to the Luis Carlos Perez Lawyers’ Collective (CCALCP) and the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS). PBI-Canada and PBI-Colombia collaboratively organized an 8-day solidarity tour in Canada in November 2019 for three representatives from those organizations to raise their concerns about fracking with Members of Parliament, government officials, civil society allies, and a wide range of people at public forums.
Prior to being elected to the Colombian Senate, Iván Cepeda Castro was a human rights defender. In this PBI-Colombia 25th anniversary video, Cepeda says: “Today I’m speaking here with you thanks to PBI. The paramilitary took me off a vehicle and there was a moment where if two PBI women hadn’t been with me, an Italian and a Norwegian, they probably would have made me disappear.”