Vote on electric concession law in Chilean Senate

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The Chilean Senate is about to approve modifications to the Electric Concession Law, paving the way for HidroAysen and its so-called “electric highway.” This law would accelerate the delivery of permits, helping electric energy projects come on line faster, benefiting the businesses promoting their projects at the expense of citizen rights and the public interest.
 
Up to now, this law has had few modifications: it was established in 1982 and later was modified in 2004. Today, it would remove even more citizen rights than earlier versions, among them limiting the possibility of opposition and appeals from communities and others affected if they are not owners of properties that are directly impacted; violate the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169 by not holding a previous consultation with indigenous peoples, only doing so after a concession has already been delivered; deliver the category of concession to help companies speed the permitting process, thereby giving them possession of lands with public domain once compensation has been determined; give concessions in perpetuity; and allow concessions in protected areas such as national parks.
 

 
 
In no way does  this law include environmental issues (they definitely did not consider the environment in 1982) nor in any way respect international treaties such as the Washington Convention on Biodiversity and the ILO Convention 169.
 
This law needs to be discussed in the light of the public and the opportunity is now. In its present form, this modified law will not help to reduce the current socio-environmental conflicts cropping up around the country in opposition to energy projects, nor contribute to a true electric reform that genuninely considers as it should the public interest.
 
This law was already approved by the mining and energy commissions of the Chilean Senate. Today, they will vote in the full Senate. (UPDATE:  the vote in the senate will resume on July 2.) 
 
Get informed, help us spread the word, and write the senators as soon as you can asking them not to approve the law that is not in the best interest of the public and ignores citizen rights.
 
How to send a letter to senators, here: http://coalicionarv.wordpress.com/
 
 
The writer, Javiera Espinoza, is a geographer with Fundacion Terram in Santiago, Chile. 
 

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