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Chile's environmental body said state-run energy producer failed to follow protocols in its permits for so-called “hydro-fracking” activities.
Chile’s environmental regulator (SMA) filed charges Monday against state-run energy producer ENAP, after finding six breaches to the provisions established in the Resolutions of Environmental Rating (RCA), including fracking, in the commune of Primavera located in the southern Tierra del Fuego province.
The SMA said ENAP had failed to follow protocols in its permits for so-called “hydro-fracking” activities. Of the six charges filed by regulators, three were described to be serious enough to shut down the project, according to the regulator.
The state oil company said the “Arenal Project” was an “essential” part of its commitment to keep the surrounding area supplied with gas.
“For that reason, we view the SMA's ruling with the utmost seriousness,” an ENAP spokesman said. “At present, we are analyzing measures to take to... resolve the aspects brought to light by the SMA in the best way possible.”
The Tierra del Fuego is located in Patagonia which is an extremely large region running through both Chile and Argentina. The area is renowned for its pristine natural parks, home to penguins, puma, and abundant wild and sea life.
The South American country has few fossil fuels of its own and has long been forced to import gas and oil from abroad, which significantly affects its public spendings. ENAP has for decades explored throughout Chile, but domestic production remains relatively small.
ENAP has 10 days to submit a compliance program to the regulator, or 15 days to dispute the charges, the environmental superintendent said in a statement.