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Cablegate: Pollution Ranks High Among Environmental Concerns in Peru

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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBR #0373/01 0781638
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181638Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1234
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5364
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0197
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR LIMA 3722
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 2422
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4487
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6643
RUEHGE/AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN 1432
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 7267
RUEHPO/AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO 1475
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 4007
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DOE WASHDC
RUEHC/DOI WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DOJ WASHDC
RUEAEPA/HQ EPA WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS BRASILIA 000373

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS USAID TO LAC/RSD, LAC/SAM, G/ENV, PPC/ENV
USDA FOR FOREST SERVICE: LIZ MAHEW
INTERIOR FOR DIR INT AFFAIRS: K WASHBURN
INTERIOR FOR FWS: TOM RILEY
INTERIOR FOR NPS: JONATHAN PUTNAM
INTERIOR PASS USGS FOR INTERNATIONAL: J WEAVER
JUSTICE FOR ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES: JWEBB
EPA FOR INTERNATIONAL: CAM HILL-MACON
USDA FOR ARS/INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH: G FLANLEY
NSF FOR INTERNATIONAL: HAROLD STOLBERG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAGR EAID TBIO ECON SOCI XR BR
SUBJECT: POLLUTION RANKS HIGH AMONG ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS IN PERU


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) Regional Environmental Officer held meetings January 28-31,
2008 with Peruvian government representatives, trade organizations,
international institutions, NGOs, and private industry to discuss
environmental concerns. Discussions of priority environmental
issues covered: (1) Mining pollution from abandoned legacies and
small-scale operations; (2) Urban pollution (wastewater discharge,
solid waste, air pollution); (3) Rapid glacial melt, creating need
for proactive water resources management in coastal region. END
SUMMARY

-----------------------------------------
GOVERNMENTAL MINING INSTITUTIONS POINT TO SMALL OPERATIONS AS
GREATEST CHALLENGE
-----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Alfredo Rodriguez, Director of Ministry of Energy and Mines
(MEM), related challenges due to lack of qualified employees
(non-competitive salaries) and lack of financial resources.
Environmental legacies from old, abandoned mines represent a
significant concern, with problem resolution proceeding very slowly.
MEM is working with the UNDP on institutional reinforcement in three
areas: informal mining, mining legacies, mine closures.

3. (SBU) Alfredo Dammert, Director of OSINERGMIN (Organismo
Supervisor de la Inversion en Energia y Mineria) described the
agency's environmental regulatory oversight for three sectors:
hydrocarbons (petroleum & natural gas), electricity, and mining.
With a 40M budget and 220 employees, OSINERGMIN pays higher salaries
and has greater independence than MEM. Present regulatory role in
mining sector (medium to large operations) involves monitoring and
supervision, detection of infractions, sanctioning, fining to
achieve environmental compliance. OSINERGMIN is willing to assume
regulatory responsibility for small-scale mining operations which
currently receive very little regional monitoring from the regions.
Budget increases (or third party contracting) would be required to
be able to meet monitoring, supervisory and enforcement needs of
numerous, remote small-mine operations with poor compliance
records.

4. (SBU) Both MEM and OSINERGMIN assert that the artisanal mining
sector needs to be formalized to achieve better environmental
compliance and social standards.

-------------------------------------------
INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS RECOMMEND MINING LEGACY REMEDIATION
-------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Anne Slivitsky, leader of Percan, Canadian-Peruvian
Development Partnership, discussed completion of 5-year project with
Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) focused on: environmental
protection, social conditions, IT database improvement, and regional
management strengthening. Percan reports that MEM is beset by lack
of human and financial resources. Austerity measures (e.g., 40%
salary cuts) in last 2 years have promoted massive departures of
qualified professionals. Civil service career track is needed to
avoid government "brain drain". Although mining regulations are
adequate, lack of transparency at MEM results in application of
different rules for national Peruvian mining companies compared to
rules applied for multinational mining operations.

6. (SBU) Renan Poveda, World Bank author of 2005 "Study on the
Environmental and Social Dimensions of Mining Sector in Peru",
highlighted the problem of mining legacies. 610 mining environmental
legacies have been identified, 72% with identified responsible
parties. Bank report recommends that limitations on new mining
concessions be instituted until remediation is begun on existing
legacies. Bank report notes that decentralization will remove
federal institutional assistance from vulnerable municipalities,
allowing small mining operations to become regionally depredatory.
Formalization of artisanal mining sector is recommended to ensure
practice standardization, and enforcement of social and public
health controls.

7. (SBU) Both Percan and World Bank believe that the
decentralization of regulatory control for small mining operations
(

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