To the words, “Without water, there is no life,” environmentalists stood in protest of the imminent arrival oil fracking company to the beach town of Palomas, Uruguay, Saturday.
Organized by the Environmental Civil Association of Salto (ACAS), the event was initiated as a means to informing the public of the health dangers tied to the local government’s decision to allow the Scuepbach Energy Uruguay Company to mine for oil resources in the area.
The army of activists answered the call, launching their discussions outside a school just two kilometers from the designated drilling zone. They explained to the public the major risk of contamination posed to the Guaraní Aquifer, the world’s second-largest natural underwater reservoir which runs beneath Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.
"There is no basis, there is no reason, to put the water in the area at risk when, because of the geological knowledge that exists, there are no hydrocarbons in the country and if there were any they would have already been found," said environmental journalist, Victor Bacchetta, who participated in the protest.
The journalist stated that adding that the agricultural community was also at risk with high levels of contamination through the use of chemical products and authorities only permitted the company to drill in order to increase their intake on financial markets.
"It increases the investment to the capital of the company and at the end of this process they say they do not find anything and they leave, they did the business and the possible consequences remain for us," he said.
Activists approached local authorities to request a public convention in order to inform the public of the changes they could expect in their community. However, they were ultimately refused, which spurred environmentalists into action.
Despite the laws banning fracking in and around the Guarani Aquifer in the country which has been in place since 2012 and a recent ban passed in Parliament prohibiting drilling on Uruguayan soil, the mayor disregarded the issue. According to the environmentalists, the magistrate said that if there was oil in Uruguay, then using it would be satisfactory and good for the country.