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(en) Chile, periodico-solidaridad #34 - La Bahía de Concepción under transnational threat

Date Tue, 16 Aug 2016 10:30:40 +0300

Interview with Edinson Neira Henriquez, spokesman for the Coordinator Penco Lirquén against the Octopus Project ---- FOR SOLIDARITY-LIBERTARIAN COMMUNIST FEDERATION , TERRITORIAL, Pampanga ---- The draft -portuario BiobioGenera-LNG (ex Octopus-LNG) aims to be carried out on the coast of Penco and Lirquén. Despite enormous opposition from social organizations by environmental threat, it will involve the construction and operation of the largest thermoelectric complex in Chile. ---- The terminal will be built which aims to enable for the reception, storage and regasification of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), later to be transported to shore via an underwater pipeline, which will link with a terrestrial pipeline; and thus supply the thermoelectric El Campesino, as other already planned in the region.

Investment LNG terminal exceeds 165 million dollars, and central El Campesino, 804 million dollars, projects involving its operation for 2018. One of its partners is precisely Cheniere Energy, dedicated to the extraction of natural gas by fraking (hydraulic fracturing), which is already banned in many places due to its disastrous environmental consequences and health of people, mainly by contamination of groundwater.

The processing of the project has not been without conflict, since the communities directly affected have been organized against him from the beginning to show serious socio-environmental effects that can bring. Expressed in direct and indiscriminate alteration of the marine ecosystem, the coastline and marshland Rocuant-Andalién. Implying drastic changes in the flora and fauna, availability of water for soil for agricultural use, the destruction of traditional productive activities such as fishing, diving and gathering shellfish, coupled with the powerful tourism development in the Bay in the municipalities directly affected.

In opposition to the project and its destructive effects, Penco- Lirquén Coordinator, Coordinator Chorera, Coordinator Tomecina and Bulnes Committee without Thermoelectric grouped in the Intercommunity Coordination against Octopus / BiobioGenera-LNG.

What relevance does this type of energy projects in relation to economic agreements between Chile and the United States - Canada in the global geopolitical context?

It is public knowledge that Michelle Bachelet traveled to the United States and ratified an agreement to import LNG by 2050 and thereby realize the dependence on gas imports to the US This is a strategic goal because it is known that Chile intends to export to other countries such as Argentina and Brazil. This is already settled, in fact, Maximo Pacheco minister has already signed the agreement.

So what is projected to Latin America as a strategic area of resource extraction and energy production?

The project will mainly benefit US with the gas business starts advanced to overcome the economic war waged with countries that have oil, such as Venezuela, Russia and other Arab countries. This allows them think about other energy resources, market it directly and thereby replace oil exports can not perform.

How important is for the Chilean State this project under the 2020-2050 strategic energy plan?

The idea is that the Bio Bio region become a zone of energy capital, since the gas will allow to continue building thermoelectric and thereby generate electricity to send to the north, mainly to mining and for export to other Latin American companies. Today As Gener has a contract with Argentina and Brazil to export electricity. So in the context of becoming the energy capital of the whole country, gas plays a strategic role.

What social and environmental risks means the massive use of LNG in the region?
Having gas, a fossil fuel and not clean energy, as they try do believe, will allow discourage the use of renewable, clean and sustainable energy, by therefore the gas does not contribute to the decontamination of the region, on the contrary, creates new industries and thermal power in the territory of Bio Bio, in fact studies have shown that in the US with the use of liquefied natural gas, pollution has not decreased, but increased to feed a large number of industries. In social terms incorporating is energy industry based on LNG, is not compatible with the activities associated with fishing, shellfish harvesting, local commerce, tourism potential given the landscape value of the bay, destruction of identity and attachment to the coastline, heritage, among others.

What are the risks to which the population will be exposed before a project like this?

The regasification process brings air pollution from the large amount of emissions of PM 10 and 2.5, plus the release of toxic waste to air quality that have direct impact on the health of people, globally and also contributing to climate change and the greenhouse effect.

Regarding the challenges that open, how you can standardize the uneven development of mobilization in the territories directly affected as-Lirquén Penco, Tomé, Talcahuano and Bulnes?

It is difficult to standardize processes of mobilization in the various communities that are directly affected by the project. They are communities who for years have not mobilized for common reasons, in a way, the levels of organization and mobilization are low in that sense the task that has been developed is to rebuild the social fabric having a common struggle against the installation of terminal Penco LNG Lirquén. To join force what is done is to create an inter coordinator against the Octopus project between Penco, Lirquén, Tomé, Talcahuano and Bulnes to take common actions, to be concrete in Concepción being the regional capital and are engaging not only protesters communes directly affected but which promptly posteriorly, will be affected by the installation of thermoelectric plants. It is committed to the realization of territorial community meetings and public demonstrations among coordinators.

How extrapolate mobilization from the communities that are directly affected to those who suffer the consequences indirectly with the massive influx of LNG to the region?

A key strategy is to promote propaganda to raise awareness and generate information especially in the student level, as facilitators of social movements, understanding that they are also inhabitants of the territories affected by the project. It is essential to bring the discussion of the neoliberal model and extractivismo and its effects on the particular territory and on the national scene in general with projects like Minera Los Pelambres, Alto Maipo in Santiago, with the salmon in the south, etc.

Finally multisectorality commitment, since in the territories there are workers, students, residents, and this struggle affects and must be confronted by all.

[Published in the Solidarity No. 34]

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