PBI-Colombia accompanied CCAJAR lawyers collective files court action against Kalé and Platero fracking pilot projects
CCAJAR lawyer Rosa María Mateus: “We have filed this charge because … the Ministry of the Interior, the ANLA, and Ecopetrol … are illegally moving forward with the environmental licensing process without carrying out the prior consultation process.”
On March 31, PBI-Colombia tweeted: “@Ccajar, on behalf of Afrowilches, and other human rights organizations file tutelage against #fracking pilots in #PuertoWilches for lack of prior consultation with Afro-Colombian communities who, in the midst of threats, protect their #ancestral territory, water and ecosystem.”
Their tweet helped to amplify this statement from the PBI-Colombia accompanied José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR) that notes: “Human rights organizations together with the Colombia Free of Fracking Alliance, filed before a Circuit Court a charge against the Ministry of the Interior, the ANLA [National Environmental Licensing Authority] and Ecopetrol, for the violation of the right to prior, free and informed consultation of the Afro-Colombian Corporation of Puerto Wilches – Afrowilches.”
Their statement further explains: “The charge filed by [CCAJAR] and Corporación Podion, on behalf of Afrowilches, seeks to suspend both the environmental license granted last Friday [March 25] by ANLA for the Kalé fracking pilot project, as well as the licensing process underway for the Platero project, until the corresponding prior consultation process with Corporación Afrowilches is carried out in all its stages.”
And Lizeth Gómez, the lawyer for Podion and the Colombia Free of Fracking Alliance, says: “This action is a reflection of the arbitrary actions of the ANLA and Ecopetrol in their eagerness to obtain environmental licenses for the Kalé and Platero fracking pilots before the end of this government, so we seek to guarantee the rights of the Afro-Colombian communities that have opposed the development of these projects in Puerto Wilches.”
Canadian companies and fracking in Colombia
Toronto-based Sintana Energy Inc. has highlighted that it “holds an undivided 30% non-operated participation interest in a Contract for Exploration and Production for Block VMM-37” where the Platero project would be conducted.
Calgary-based Canacol Energy Ltd., which holds two nearby “unconventional shale oil blocks”, has previously commented that the Platero and Kalé projects are “positive steps towards realizing the commercial potential of the unconventional shale oil field in Colombia and specifically for the resources prospects that we have through our position in the Middle Magdalena Valley basin.”
Environmental defenders threatened
Afro-Colombian youth activist and Aguawil member Yuvelis Morales has denounced both of these fracking pilot projects. Due to the death threats against her, she has sought refuge in France. The French government has accepted her in a move they describe as “consistent with France’s feminist diplomacy.”
On a PBI-Canada organized webinar in April 2021, Morales stated: “When we became a problem for the oil companies, those interested in promoting fracking and its economic benefits, they started to threaten, stigmatize, and silence us.”
We continue to closely follow this situation.