Top court in Colombia to rule on the legality of fracking in Colombia as Canadian company bids for pilot project

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: Diario La Voz.

Today, the Council of State, the supreme tribunal with jurisdiction over administrative issues, will consider the issue of fracking in Colombia.

The Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking says: “[The court’s decision will send a] message about the need to protect the right of future generations to enjoy a healthy environment in the context of the climate crisis, the greatest challenge we have faced as humanity.”

The Alliance adds: “The coastal communities of the Middle Magdalena, young people, fishermen, those, and those who have suffered for more than a century oil exploitation in their region, set all their hopes in the Council of State.”

“Fracking must be censored as soon as it contradicts our 1991 Ecological Constitution, the Paris Agreement, the Rio de Janeiro Convention, the Ramsar Convention, among other instruments of international human rights law.”

The Alliance also cautions: “However, nullity itself is not enough. The National Government has been advancing since last year in a new strategy for the implementation of fracking known as Integral Research Pilot Projects.”

Last month, Valora Analitik reported: “[Ecopetrol president Felipe] Bayón explained that on March 11, the State Council of Colombia will begin the discussion on the regulation of fracking ‘which will take several months.’ But, he said, the regulation of the [fracking pilot projects] is in force and they will continue.”

That article adds: “Bayón confirmed what was said yesterday in that for that pilot he hopes to have the licence by the end of 2021 and to be able to start with the activity in the area as soon as that happens.”

The first licence for a fracking pilot project in Colombia was awarded by the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) to Ecopetrol on November 25, 2020 for its Kalé project near the community of Puerto Wilches, Santander.

A second round of contracts for fracking pilot projects is expected to be awarded on April 8. Among the transnationals that have reportedly pre-qualified for one of those contracts is Toronto-based Sintana Energy/Patriot Energy which holds a 30 per cent stake in the VMM37 block near Puerto Wilches along with ExxonMobil.

UN Special Rapporteur David R. Boyd recently told the Colombian Congress: “In light of its obligations under constitutional, international, human rights and environmental law, fossil fuels must be replaced by renewable energies. I respectfully maintain that the government of Colombia must pass a law to prohibit fracking.”

In November 2019, PBI coordinated an advocacy tour in Canada with representatives from the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) and the Luis Carlos Pérez Collective Lawyers Corporation (CCALCP) who highlighted their concerns about fracking at numerous meetings across the country.

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