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Cablegate: South America Esth News, Number 108

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R 091653Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
INFO RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 3742
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0263
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RETRANSMITTAL - ORIGINAL ACTION TO SECSTATE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAGR EAID TBIO ECON SOCI XR BR
SUBJECT: SOUTH AMERICA ESTH NEWS, NUMBER 108

BRASILIA 00000454 001.3 OF 016


1. The following is the one hundred eigth in a series of
newsletters, published by the Brasilia Regional Environmental Hub,
covering environment, science and technology, and health news in
South America. The information below was gathered from news sources
from across the region, and the views expressed do not necessarily
reflect those of the Hub office or our constituent posts.
Addressees who would like to receive a user-friendly email version
of this newsletter should contact Larissa Stoner at
stonerla@state.gov. The e-mail version also contains a calendar of
upcoming ESTH events in the region. NOTE: THE NEWSLETTER IS NOW
ALSO AVAILABLE ON THE BRASILIA INTRANET PAGE, BY CLICKING ON THE
'HUB' LINK.

2. Table of Contents

Agriculture
-- Argentina: Study Proves Glyphosate Toxic
-- Continued Soy Expansion Worries Argentina

Health
--Yellow Fever: First Possible Death Reported In Argentina
--WHO Wants Agreement With Brazil To Increase Yellow Fever Vaccine
Production

Water Issues
--Short On Water, Mine Sector Looks Seaward
--Brazil: Classifying Underground Waters

Forests
--Million Acres of Guyanese Rainforest to Be Saved in Groundbreaking
Deal
--Activist Bishop Receives Death Threats in Brazilian Amazon
--Brazil: Snakes Invade Brazilian City As Forest Disappears
--Brazil: Managed Forestry Offers Hope of Saving Amazon
--Bolivia Loses 270,000 hectares of Forest Annually

Fishing & Marine Conservation
--Salmon Virus Indicts Chile's Fishing Methods
--Anti-Whaling Initiatives Set To Play Out In Chile
--Artisan Fishermen in Chile's VIII Region Protest Quota System
--Brazil: Fisherfolk to the Turtle Rescue!

Protected Areas
--Highest Peak in the Americas Attracting Trekkers-and Trash
--Argentina: Historic Ruling Defends Wetland

Science & Technology
--Argentina to invest US$150 million in Science Infrastructure

Pollution
--Peru Tribe Battles Oil Giant over Pollution

Climate Change
--Study Confirms Chile Glacier Retreat
--La Nia and Climate Confusion

Infrastructure Development
--Road to Progress, or to Eco-Degradation?

Energy
--Chile: Law Suit Filed Against Puerto Montt Diesel Generator
--Chile Spends US$10.7 Billion on Energy in 2007
--Criticisms Multiply Against Binational Dam
--Chile's Congress Approves Renewable Energy
Law/energy/article/32352
--Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia Agree To Build Five Joint Hydro Power
Plants

-----------
Agriculture
-----------

3. Argentina: Study Proves Glyphosate Toxic

MAR. 24, 2008 - The herbicide glyphosate, used in Argentina to
eliminate weeds in soybean fields, takes time to degrade and is not
innocuous, says a study by researchers from various Argentine
institutions. "Its toxicity was known, but it was thought to
degrade much more quickly than it does and that its residues were
absorbed without effect; but we found that such is not the case,"
Horacio Zagarese, of the Chascomus Technological Institute, told
Tierramerica. Along with researchers at the universities of Buenos
Aires and La Plata, Zagarese's team found that glyphosate, also used
to destroy illegal coca plantations in Colombia, drives up the
concentration of phosphorous in lakes and ponds, and alters the
presence of algae that are the basis of the aquatic food chain.
"With soy being the most extensive crop in Argentina and if tons of
glyphosate are used, it's evident that in the long term this will
have an impact," he said.

BRASILIA 00000454 002.3 OF 016

Source - Tierramerica

4. Continued Soy Expansion Worries Argentina

MAR. 2008 - Every year Argentine soy farmers seem to set new
records-in land area under cultivation, in production, in tons
exported, in foreign-exchange earnings. As they do, analysts worry
that the trend is getting out of hand. Concern about soy
monoculture is not new. Experts have warned for several years that
expanding soy cultivation-driven by demand from the developing
world, particularly China and India-is crowding out other forms of
agriculture. In the process, they've said, it has caused soil
depletion in the humid pampas, one of the world's most fertile
regions, and deforestation in northern Argentina. Now, however,
even those who promoted soy cultivation have become worried as
farming of the crop has continued to spread. Government officials
have joined the chorus, citing over-reliance on a single crop and
inflationary effects from rising soy prices to justify an increase
in the federal tax on soy exports to 44.1% from the previous 35%.
Critics argue the real reason for the tax hike was to fill public
coffers further. The government, already riding high on soy-levy
revenues, stands to gain well over US$1.0 billion this year from the
increase announced in March. But when Economy Minister Martin
Lousteau, in announcing the tax hike, cited the importance of
stopping the advance of "soyzation," he was echoing the sentiments
of many experts who fear the consequences here of soy's relentless
advance.

Source - EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete
article)

------
Health
------

5. Dengue Claims 54 Lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

MAR. 27, 2008 - A dengue epidemic has claimed at least 54 lives in
Rio de Janeiro state since January. Brazilian Health Minister Jose
Temporao said that 1,200 soldiers from the army, air force and navy
would be deployed to set up three field hospitals, while an
additional 500 would spray insecticide and place poison in standing
puddles of water where the mosquitoes breed. More than 43,000
people have contracted disease since January 2008 in Rio de Janeiro
state - nearly double the 25,107 cases reported in all of 2007. The
state is home to 16 million people. On March 26, Rio de Janeiro
state Governor Sergio Cabral ordered health officials to break into
homes suspected of containing standing bodies of water if the owners
could not be found.

Source - Yahoo News

6. Yellow Fever: First Possible Death Reported In Argentina

MAR. 12, 2008 - A logger is suspected to be the first fatal case of
yellow fever in Argentina since the 2007 outbreak in neighboring
Paraguay. The man, 39, together with a crew of men was logging in
the northern province of Misiones and according to local sanitary
officials had all the symptoms of the mosquito transmitted viral
disease. Five more loggers in the crew are considered "risk" cases
and blood samples have been sent to Buenos Aires for testing. They
are under surveillance in a Misiones province hospital. Argentine
federal health authorities have extended compulsory vaccination to
five more provinces bordering with Paraguay and /or Misiones
province. In the last nine months there have been 16 proven fatal
cases of yellow fever in Paraguay and 17 in Brazil. Officials from
Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru will
coordinate and monitor yellow fever immunization for people living
in border areas, as well as efforts to eradicate the
disease-spreading insects, the Pan American Health Organization
said.

Source -MercoPress

7. WHO Wants Agreement With Brazil To Increase Yellow Fever Vaccine
Production

FEB. 28, 2008 - The World Health Organization is going to propose an
agreement with Brazil to increase the production of yellow fever
vaccine until the end of the year. According to press reports, the
WHO has only 6 million doses of vaccine in stock, after lending 4
million to Brazil and 2 million to Paraguay, but believes that that
number won't be enough to deal with a possible epidemic in Africa
and in Latin America.

Source - O Estado de Sao Paulo

------------

BRASILIA 00000454 003.3 OF 016


Water Issues
------------

8. Short on Water, Mine Sector Looks Seaward in Argentina

MAR. 2008 - The Israel-owned Mekorot Water Company has begun
feasibility studies for a seawater desalination plant at the
iron-ore mine MCC Minera Sierra Grande, located in Argentina's Ro
Negro province. In Chile and Peru, meanwhile, gold and copper mines
already have started desalinating Pacific Ocean water to counter
growing concern that the mining sector is consuming inordinate
shares of the two nations' supplies of fresh water. Mining accounts
for the lion's share of Peruvian and Chilean exports, as increasing
international demand pushes gold and copper prices close to record
highs. Although not as dependent on mining, Argentina has begun
tapping its substantial mineral deposits-mainly copper and gold, but
also iron and aluminum-in both its northwest provinces and the
southern Patagonia region. In recent years, water has become an
increasingly sensitive subject for Latin America's fast-growing
mining industry, which uses vast quantities of water-and
electricity. Mines not only strain water supplies on account of
their heavy consumption, but also diminish acceptability of existing
sources via heavy metal contamination.

Source - EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete
article)

9. Brazil: Classifying Underground Waters

MAR. 24, 2008 - Underground waters in Brazil are already categorized
according to their characteristics and degrees of contamination, and
an indication of the appropriate use for each aquifer. According to
their natural hydrogeochemical characteristics, the waters would be
classified in five categories, as well as a "special class" for
aquifers earmarked for preservation of ecosystems or for feeding
lakes and rivers. The National Environment Council adopted the
measure on Mar. 12 with the aim of monitoring and protecting water
resource quality, as decontamination is costly and slow.
Previously, underground waters were polluted with no control of
state agencies. "Now we will be able to promote better water
resource management and zoning," Council technical adviser Cleidemar
Batista told Tierramerica.

Source - Tierramerica

-------
Forests
-------

10. Million Acres of Guyanese Rainforest to Be Saved in
Groundbreaking Deal

MAR. 27, 2008 - A deal has been agreed that will place a financial
value on rainforests - paying, for the first time, for their upkeep
as "utilities" that provide vital services such as rainfall
generation, carbon storage and climate regulation. The agreement
will secure the future of one million acres of pristine rainforest
in Guyana and will open the way for financial markets to play a key
role in safeguarding the fate of the world's forests. The
initiative, the first of its kind, follows Guyana's extraordinary
offer to place its entire standing forest under the protection of a
British-led international body in return for development aid. The
deal, drawn up by the international firm Stephenson Harwood, is the
first serious attempt to pay for ecosystem services provided by
rainforests.

Source - The Independent

11. Activist Bishop Receives Death Threats in Brazilian Amazon

MAR. 26, 2008 - A shadowy consortium of ranchers and loggers has put
a $500,000 price tag on the head of a bishop who defends poor
settlers and Indians in the Amazon, according to a human rights
group. The consortium has apparently mapped out a detailed plan to
kill Bishop Erwin Krautler, an Austrian national who has worked in
the largely lawless northern state of Para since 1980, according to
the Catholic Church-linked Indigenous Missionary Council. Powerful
Amazon business interests have criticized the 69-year-old Krautler,
who often protests land grabbing, debt slavery and environmental
destruction. The bishop has been under police protection since last
year, according to Para state police spokesman Emanuel Villaca.

Source - The Associated Press

12. Brazil: Snakes Invade Brazilian City As Forest Disappears

MAR. 19, 2008 - Snakes -- including one 10-foot anaconda -- are
increasingly invading the eastern Amazon's largest city Belem. The
snakes are driven from the rain forest by destruction of their

BRASILIA 00000454 004.2 OF 016

MAR. 27, 2008 - A dengue epidemic has claimed at least 54 lives in
Rio de Janeiro state since January. Brazilian Health Minister Jose
Temporao said that 1,200 soldiers from the army, air force and navy
would be deployed to set up three field hospitals, while an
additional 500 would spray insecticide and place poison in standing
puddles of water where the mosquitoes breed. More than 43,000
people have contracted disease since January 2008 in Rio de Janeiro
state - nearly double the 25,107 cases reported in all of 2007. The
state is home to 16 million people. On March 26, Rio de Janeiro
state Governor Sergio Cabral ordered health officials to break into
homes suspected of containing standing bodies of water if the owners
could not be found.

Source - Yahoo News

6. Yellow Fever: First Possible Death Reported In Argentina

MAR. 12, 2008 - A logger is suspected to be the first fatal case of
yellow fever in Argentina since the 2007 outbreak in neighboring
Paraguay. The man, 39, together with a crew of men was logging in
the northern province of Misiones and according to local saitary
officials had all the symptoms of the mosqito transmitted viral
disease. Five more logger in the crew are considered "risk" cases
and blod samples have been sent to Buenos Aires for testin. They
are under surveillance in a Misiones provnce hospital. Argentine
federal health authorites have extended compulsory vaccination to
five ore provinces bordering with Paraguay and /or Misines
province. In the last nine months there havebeen 16 proven fatal
cases of yellow fever in Paaguay and 17 in Brazil. Officials from
Paraguay Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru will
coordinate and monitor yellow fever immunizationfor people living
in border areas, as well as effrts to eradicate the
disease-spreading insects, the Pan American Health Organization
said.

Source -MercoPress

7. WHO Wants Agreement With Brazil To Increase Yellow Fever Vaccine
Production

FEB. 28, 2008 - The World Health Organization is going to propose an

BRASILIA 00000454 005.2 OF 016


agreement with Brazil to increase the production of yellow fever
vaccine until the end of the year. According to press reports, the
WHO has only 6 million doses of vaccine in stock, after lending 4
million to Brazil and 2 million to Paraguay, but believes that that
number won't be enough to deal with a possible epidemic in Africa
and in Latin America.

Source - O Estado de Sao Paulo

------------
Water Issues
------------

8. Short on Water, Mine Sector Looks Seaward in Argentina

MAR. 2008 - The Israel-owned Mekorot Water Company has begun
feasibility studies for a seawater desalination plant at the
iron-ore mine MCC Minera Sierra Grande, located in Argentina's Ro
Negro province. In Chile and Peru, meanwhile, gold and copper mines
already have started desalinating Pacific Ocean water to counter
growing concern that the mining sector is consuming inordinate
shares of the two nations' supplies of fresh water. Mining accounts
for the lion's share of Peruvian and Chilean exports, as increasing
international demand pushes gold and copper prices close to record
highs. Although not as dependent on mining, Argentina has begun
tapping its substantial mineral deposits-mainly copper and gold, but
also iron and aluminum-in both its northwest provinces and the
southern Patagonia region. In recent years, water has become an
increasingly sensitive subject for Latin America's fast-growing
mining industry, which uses vast quantities of water-and
electricity. Mines not only strain water supplies on account of
their heavy consumption, but also diminish acceptability of existing
sources via heavy metal contamination.

Source - EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete
article)

9. Brazil: Classifying Underground Waters

MAR. 24, 2008 - Underground waters in Brazil are already categorized
according to their characteristics and degrees of contamination, and
an indication of the appropriate use for each aquifer. According to

BRASILIA 00000454 006.2 OF 016


their natural hydrogeochemical characteristics, the waters would be
classified in five categories, as well as a "special class" for
aquifers earmarked for preservation of ecosystems or for feeding
lakes and rivers. The National Environment Council adopted the
measure on Mar. 12 with the aim of monitoring and protecting water
resource quality, as decontamination is costly and slow.
Previously, underground waters were polluted with no control of
state agencies. "Now we will be able to promote better water
resource management and zoning," Council technical adviser Cleidemar
Batista told Tierramerica.

Source - Tierramerica

-------
Forests
-------

10. Million Acres of Guyanese Rainforest to Be Saved in
Groundbreaking Deal

MAR. 27, 2008 - A deal has been agreed that will place a financial
value on rainforests - paying, for the first time, for their upkeep
as "utilities" that provide vital services such as rainfall
generation, carbon storage and climate regulation. The agreement
will secure the future of one million acres of pristine rainforest
in Guyana and will open the way for financial markets to play a key
role in safeguarding the fate of the world's forests. The
initiative, the first of its kind, follows Guyana's extraordinary
offer to place its entire standing forest under the protection of a
British-led international body in return for development aid. The
deal, drawn up by the international firm Stephenson Harwood, is the
first serious attempt to pay for ecosystem services provided by
rainforests.

Source - The Independent

11. Activist Bishop Receives Death Threats in Brazilian Amazon

MAR. 26, 2008 - A shadowy consortium of ranchers and loggers has put
a $500,000 price tag on the head of a bishop who defends poor
settlers and Indians in the Amazon, according to a human rights
group. The consortium has apparently mapped out a detailed plan to

BRASILIA 00000454 007.2 OF 016


kill Bishop Erwin Krautler, an Austrian national who has worked in
the largely lawless northern state of Para since 1980, according to
the Catholic Church-linked Indigenous Missionary Council. Powerful
Amazon business interests have criticized the 69-year-old Krautler,
who often protests land grabbing, debt slavery and environmental
destruction. The bishop has been under police protection since last
year, according to Para state police spokesman Emanuel Villaca.

Source - The Associated Press

12. Brazil: Snakes Invade Brazilian City As Forest Disappears

MAR. 19, 2008 - Snakes -- including one 10-foot anaconda -- are
increasingly invading the eastern Amazon's largest city Belem. The
snakes are driven from the rain forest by destruction of their
natural habitat, according to IBAMA, the Brazilian government's
environmental protection agency. Ibama has been called out to
capture 21 snakes this year in Belem, Brazil, a sprawling metropolis
of 1.5 million people at the mouth of the Amazon River. In normal
years, Ibama receives one or two calls a month. Ibama believes the
increasing snake presence is a result of rising deforestation by
loggers, ranchers and developers in the Amazon jungle surrounding
the Belem urban area. "Deforestation destroys their habitat, so
they come to the city," reports a veterinary team that captures the
snakes and takes them to a zoo or to an outlying park for release.

Source - CNN

13. Brazil: Managed Forestry Offers Hope of Saving Amazon

FEB. 18, 2008 - Buzzing chain saws and heavy machinery hauling logs
through the Amazon jungle may look at first like reckless
destruction. But a forestry project on the Jari River in northern
Brazil is being hailed as a model for preserving the world's largest
rain forest. "Selling certified timber harvested in a sustainable
way is the only solution for the Amazon," said Augusto Praxedes
Neto, a manager at Brazilian pulp and paper company Grupo ORSA. For
five years ORSA has managed the world's largest private tropical
forest, located on either side of the Jari River in the northeastern
Amazon region. It harvests only 30 cubic meters (12,713 board feet)
of timber per hectare (2.47 acres) every 30 years, just under the
natural regeneration rate. Trees are felled and transported in a

BRASILIA 00000454 008.2 OF 016


manner to produce minimal impact on the forest, and are then
recorded in a computerized inventory.

Source - Reuters

14. Bolivia Loses 270,000 hectares of Forest Annually

MAR. 16, 2008 - According to the Vice-Minister of Biodiversity in
Bolivia, Bolivia loses 270,000 hectares of forest annually due to
the expansion of the agricultural frontier. The departments (i.e.
states) most affected are La Paz, Santa Cruz, Beni, and Pando.
Forests cover 50 million hectares - or 46% - of the country's
territory. Over 1,400 reports of illegal deforestation were
documented in 2007. Poverty in rural areas, lack of environmental
education, and the increasing demand for forest products are
indicated as primary causes of deforestation in the country.

Source - Univision

-----------------------------
Fishing & Marine Conservation
-----------------------------

15. Salmon Virus Indicts Chile's Fishing Methods

MAR. 27, 2008- A virus called infectious salmon anemia, or I.S.A.,
is killing millions of salmon destined for export to Japan, Europe
and the United States. The spreading plague has sent shivers through
Chile's third-largest export industry, which has left local people
embittered by lay-offs of more than 1,000 workers. It has also
opened the companies to fresh charges from biologists and
environmentalists who say that the breeding of salmon in crowded
underwater pens is contaminating once-pristine waters and producing
potentially unhealthy fish. Some say the industry is raising its
fish in ways that court disaster, and producers are coming under new
pressure to change their methods to preserve southern Chile's cobalt
blue waters for tourists and other marine life.

Source - The New York Times (please contact Larissa Stoner for
complete article)

16. Anti-Whaling Initiatives Set To Play Out In Chile

BRASILIA 00000454 009.2 OF 016

MAR. 2008 - Environmental groups plan to press for a ban on whaling
in the southern oceans at the next meeting of the International
Whaling Commission (IWC), slated to be held in May in Santiago,
Chile. Meanwhile, the Chilean government, which has been outspoken
in its opposition to Japanese whaling, is considering declaring all
waters within its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) a permanent
sanctuary for whales and other cetaceans. And green groups are
urging Chile to propose a Latin-America-wide agreement to declare
all EEZ waters in the region-from Mexico to Antarctica-off limits to
whaling, according to Juan Carlos Crdenas, executive director of
the Santiago-based green group Ecoceanos.

Source - EcoAmericas

17. Artisan Fishermen in Chile's VIII Region Protest Quota System

MAR. 12, 2008 - Artisan fishermen in Chile's VIII Region protested
March 10 against irregularities in the distribution of the country's
sardine and anchovy quota system that favors commercial fishing
interests. The fishermen claim that 70 percent of the total
allotment is designated for a small number of large commercial
vessels, while some 340 smaller boats, each with an average of ten
fishermen, must compete for the remaining 30 percent. The conflict
stems from a 2007 decision by Chile's National Fishing Authority to
increase the fishing industry's annual sardine and anchovy quota.
The country's artisan fishermen objected to that move as well,
maintaining that it favored the interests of larger commercial
enterprises at their expense. The criteria for determining the
fishing quotas were based on statistics from 2002 - 2004, including
a vessel's frequency of catches and average haul over those years,
as well as the number of years an enterprise has been involved in
fishing. According to Chile's Confederation of Artesian Fishermen
(CONAPACH), irregularities in the calculations resulted in some
artisan fishermen with over three decades of experience being
excluded from the quotas entirely.

Source - Santiago Times

18. Brazil: Fisherfolk to the Turtle Rescue!

MAR. 10, 2008 - A conservation campaign is motivating fisherfolk in

BRASILIA 00000454 010.2 OF 016


southern Brazil to fight accidental capture of sea turtles. The
mission of the Tamar Project (Brazilian Program for the Conservation
of Sea Turtles) in Florianopolis (southern Brazil) is to raise
awareness among the local residents about the need to conserve the
turtles, and to work with local fishing families to reduce
accidental capture. Fisherman Josemar Teixeira reported to
Tierramerica that until a few years ago each time a turtle ended up
in his nets it would be shared among everyone to eat. But since the
Tamar project began in 2005 that practice stopped in Florianopolis
"because we all know it is prohibited," he adds. Unlike traditional
fishhooks, in the form of a "J" and with sharp points, the new hooks
used by fisherfolk are more rounded and closed, making it difficult
for a turtle to get caught on them, and if it were to occur, "it
would reduce the impact of the injury," said the biologist. In a
year of tests with the new hooks, the turtles brought in by the
fishers have suffered much lighter injury. The center rehabilitated
94 turtles in 2007.

Source - Tierreamerica

---------------
Protected Areas
---------------

19. Argentina: Historic Ruling Defends Wetland

MAR. 10, 2008 .- A 20-kilometer embankment constructed by an
agri-business firm in the Esteros del Ibera wetlands, in the eastern
Argentine province of Corrientes, must be demolished, says a court
order. In an unprecedented decision, the Corrientes Superior Court
of Justice upheld the ruling of two lower courts in a case filed in
2005 by a resident when the embankment was just 1.5 km long. "It is
an historic ruling. It was a completely illegal project because it
was inside the reserve," Jorge Cappato, an activist with the
environmental group Fundacion Proteger, told Tierramerica. Along
with the recently enacted Forestry Law, this decision is "one of the
two best news items in recent years for Argentina in the area of
sustainable development," he added. Esteros del Ibera is a
freshwater wetland extending over 1.4 million hectares and holds a
vast array of plant and animal species, including many that are
endangered.


BRASILIA 00000454 011.2 OF 016


Source - Tierramerica

20. Highest Peak in the Americas Attracting Trekkers-and Trash

MAR. 2008 - Rising 22,841 feet (6,962 meters) above sea level,
Argentina's Aconcagua is the highest peak in the Americas and the
object of many a mountain climber's most ambitious dreams. With a
fast-growing number of those dreams becoming reality, however,
Aconcagua and the natural area containing it are being spoiled by
large quantities of trash left behind by trekkers and climbers. The
number of visits to the 175,000-acre (71,000-ha) protected
area-Aconcagua Provincial Park, located in Mendoza province-has
increased dramatically in recent years. Increasingly, visitors are
complaining about packaging, food and human waste littering the
landscape-particularly at campsites located above 16,000 feet (5,000
meters), where there are no permanent park-ranger stations.

Source - EcoAmericas

--------------------
Science & Technology
--------------------

21. Argentina to invest US$150 million in Science Infrastructure

MAR. 01, 2008 - The Government of Argentina presented an
infrastructure plan for science and technology for the period
between 2008 and 2011, which will have a budget of US$150 million
and will be carried out by the Ministries of Planning and Science.
According to the Minister of Science Lino Baranao, 137,650 square
meters of new buildings destined for science and technological
production.

Source - SciDev

---------
Pollution
---------

22. Peru Tribe Battles Oil Giant over Pollution

MAR. 26, 2008 - It is a familiar story. Big business moves into a

BRASILIA 00000454 012.2 OF 016


pristine wilderness and starts destroying the environment and the
livelihoods of the indigenous people who live there. But in a
reversal of plot, there are now cases of people living traditional
lifestyles who are now invading the territory of the big companies
and taking them on at their own game. The story of the Achuar tribe
living in the Amazon rainforest of north-eastern Peru is one of
them. Last year, they filed a class action lawsuit against oil
giant Occidental Petroleum, in Los Angeles. Now they are awaiting a
judge's decision on whether the case can proceed in the US or will
be sent back to Peru, where it stands little chance of coming to
court.

Source - BBC

--------------
Climate Change
--------------

23. Study Confirms Chile Glacier Retreat

MAR. 11, 2008 - Researchers at Santiago's Universidad Tecnologica
Metropolitana (UTEM) have confirmed that the O'Higgins glacier in
Chile's Southern Ice Field is one of the sector's four
fastest-receding ice masses. The study, conducted over the past two
years by UTEM cartographers Ivan Gabriel Soto and Claudio Vargas,
measured the volume and position of the glacier between 1961 and
2001. Using GPS technology and satellite imagery, the scientists
found that the O'Higgins glacier receded nearly eight kilometers and
lost 6.8 cubic kilometers in volume over the relevant time period, a
consequence of global climate change. To put that amount in
perspective, Juan Oscar Martinez, UTEM's director of Cartography,
said that 6.8 cubic kilometers is roughly 26 times the volume of
Chile's El Yeso reservoir in the Cajon de Maipo, the principal water
source for the Santiago Metropolitan Region's six million
inhabitants. In January, Chile's Water Management Authority (DGA)
announced the creation of a Snow and Glacier Unit to study melting
in Chile's glacial regions more thoroughly. The agency hopes to
designate certain parts of southern Chile with a high concentration
of glaciers as protected areas in order to stem further melting.

Source - Santiago Times


BRASILIA 00000454 013.2 OF 016


24. La Nina and Climate Confusion

MAR. 10, 2008 - It is still difficult to predict the local impacts
of the cyclic climate phenomenon known as La Nina, which has been
responsible for catastrophic floods in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and
Argentina, and -- on the other extreme -- severe drought in Chile.
The death toll has already reached about 100, and around one million
people have been affected by the floods and drought. La Nina is
characterized by an atypical cooling of the surface waters of the
ocean and an increase in the winds blowing east to west at the
equator. The better known El Nino is the opposite: warmer surface
waters and weaker winds. La Nina tends to provoke intense rains in
Colombia, Ecuador, the high plains of Bolivia and Peru and
northwestern Argentina, and drought in Uruguay, southern Brazil,
northeastern Argentina and central Chile.

Source - Tierramerica

--------------------------
Infrastructure Development
--------------------------

25. Road to Progress, or to Eco-Degradation?

MAR. 2008 - For the locals who use it regularly, the old Colombian
road from Mocoa in the department of Putumayo to Pasto, which is in
the department of Nario, has been a curse since it was built in the
1930s. Each trip means stopping repeatedly and backing up to allow
a vehicle to squeeze past in the opposite direction. Residents here
are tired of the road. They are tired of watching people die on it.
But now the prayers of the citizens of Putumayo and Nario are being
answered: a US$183 million project, which includes widening and
surfacing some sections of the old road and building a 28-mile
(45-km) new stretch, is underway and will be finished by 2010. The
new Mocoa-Pasto road is part of the Initiative for the Integration
of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA), a US$55
billion project of South American nations to integrate their
highways, waterways, energy grids and pipelines. But like many
IIRSA projects, the new road also poses real risks. It could open
the once-isolated Mocoa region to logging, mining and oil operations
and attract thousands of migrants from both Colombia and neighboring
nations. Environmentalists say an intense increase in development

BRASILIA 00000454 014.2 OF 016


activity could wreak havoc on southwestern Colombia's Andean-Amazon
Piedmont region, which the road traverses. The balancing of
development against cultural and environmental concerns is a common
challenge raised by IIRSA, which was born in 2000 at a meeting in
Braslia of South America's presidents and involves some 335
projects funded by governments and such multilateral organizations
as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Andean
Development Corporation (CAF).

Source - EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete
article)

------
Energy
------

26. Chile: Law Suit Filed Against Puerto Montt Diesel Generator

MAR. 26, 2008 - A US$43.2 million, 90 MW diesel-powered electricity
generating plant planned for Trapen, near the outskirts of Puerto
Montt (Region X), has sparked strong public opposition and
contributed to the growing national debate about Chile's lack of an
energy policy. After taking over the Route 5 twice earlier this
year to draw attention to their health, safety and environmental
concerns posed by the diesel generator, local residents filed a
lawsuit to stop the project. Community leaders assert that the
Trapen diesel-powered plant - proposed by a Santiago-based firm
called Energia Latina S.A. - was hastily approved by regional
environmental authorities in a matter of days without any public
notice or review. They also assert that Energia Latina's diesel
project plan was misleading and inaccurate.

Source - Santiago Times

27. Criticisms Multiply Against Argentina, Brazil Binational Dam

MAR. 24, 2008 - Under pressure from rising energy demands, the
governments of Argentina and Brazil are taking a new look at old
plans for the Garabi hydroelectric dam on the Uruguay River.
Ecologists say it would endanger the flow of this already highly
exploited water source. In late February, Argentina's President
Cristina Fernandez and Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

BRASILIA 00000454 015.2 OF 016


ratified the decision to relaunch work on the binational Garabi dam,
first planned in 1972. A technical commission was created to oversee
the preliminary work and construction is slated to begin in 2011.
The first Argentine-Brazilian dam would have an energy-generating
potential of 2,800 megawatts and would mean flooding 33,000 hectares
of inhabited land on both sides of the river. Its location would be
on the stretch between the far northeastern Argentine province of
Corrientes and the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.
Also planned are two more Argentine-Brazilian dams along the same
river: San Pedro and Roncador.

Source - Tierramerica

28. Chile Spends US$10.7 Billion on Energy in 2007

MAR. 24, 2008 - Chile spent US$10.7 billion to satisfy its energy
needs in 2007, about twice what the country should have spent for
energy, according to a report released by the Santiago Chamber of
Commerce (CCS). The CCS report attributed the extra energy costs to
special circumstances related to a natural gas shortfall from
Argentina, sharply higher world prices for petroleum products, and
the current drought plaguing most of the country. Chile's recent
energy costs amount to approximately 7 percent of the nation's Gross
National Product. Still, these "special circumstances" seem
unlikely to change in the mid to long term: world petroleum reserves
are on a downhill trajectory according to most experts, meaning
prices are going no where but up, and Argentina's natural gas
shipments will continue limited according to Argentine energy
experts. The CCS's report also found that the nation has spent
US$9.3 billion in "extra" energy costs since 2004, when the energy
sector's problems first began to take a larger profile in the
nation's conscience.

Source - Santiago Times

29. Chile's Congress Approves Renewable Energy
Law/energy/article/32352

MAR. 06, 2008 - Chile's Congress voted on March 5th to require
electric utilities to invest in and supply nonconventional energy
sources (NCES) as part of the government's drive to diversify
current tight energy supplies. The vote in favor of the project,

BRASILIA 00000454 016.2 OF 016


which mandates that NCES account for at least 10 percent of the
energy supplied by Chile's electric utilities by 2024, was
unanimous. The next step is for the project to be signed into law
by the president. Nonconventional energy sources include wind,
solar, geothermal, hydraulic and other forms of energy that have low
environmental impact and are still not widely used in the local
market. Chile, which imports nearly all of the fuel it consumes,
has been grappling with a serious energy shortage amid cuts in
natural gas from sole supplier Argentina and lower hydroelectric
reservoir levels caused by scant rainfall. Short energy supplies
caused electricity prices on the spot market to more than quadruple
in 2007, and are cramping Chile's economic growth potential.

Source - Environment News Network

30. Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia Agree To Build Five Joint Hydro Power
Plants

FEB. 26, 2008 - Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobco
announced that Brazil will build three binational hydroelectric
power plants with Argentina and another two with Bolivia, totaling
10,000 megawatts and R$ 30 billion (USD 17 billion). According to
press reports, after the presidents of the three countries met in
Buenos Aires on February 23, it was agreed that Mercosur ministers
will meet to discuss the bloc's energy policy in 10 days. Asked
about Argentina's request to receive part of the gas Brazil receives
from Bolivia, Lobco said that there will be no change to existing
contracts, although Brazil could help its neighbor with surplus
electricity. Reports also highlight that President Evo Morales said
that Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina have committed to help each other
in case of energy crises. The nuclear cooperation with Argentina
includes the creation of a binational state company to develop a
joint nuclear reactor for electricity generation.

Source - Public Affairs US Embassy Brasilia

HENSHAW

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