Colombia is not equipped with the necessary technical developments to absorb the environmental risks linked to fracking, ex-Inspector General Edgardo Maya Villazon said Tuesday.
The nation’s forest reserves have depleted from 65 million hectares to 40 million hectares, Maya said during the “Environmental Fiscal Control for Sustainable Development” in Bogota.
Although the country may eventually reach sustainable energy, without dedicated research, there is a high risk of contaminating large subterranean water sources and Colombia is not prepared to handle the repercussions, he said.
“The country has a recoverable amount of natural resources, but there is still a lack of precise technical information, due to gaps in detailed studies and insufficient data on the environmental baseline,” said Maya.
The outgoing minister also took the opportunity to point out that in many occasions fracking has exploited a number of countries’ natural reserves and was consequently banned. He criticized state’s irresponsible and “predatory” investigation into the business endeavor, condemning the initiative as detrimental to Colombian society.
“The growth observed in the Colombian economy is not based on the generation of value, but on the predatory consumption of its natural resources, in a continuous process of decapitalization of its natural heritage, which, despite its great wealth, already begins to show unequivocal symptoms of exhaustion,”
He urged the state to first improve its science, research, and technology development programs and entrust detailed geo-mapping to experts in the field before opening the door to companies interested in hydraulic fracturing.
"It would reduce the asymmetry of the information that country has historically conducted similar projects, and control the enormous environmental risks inherent in this technique,” said Maya, who retires from his position as inspector general this week.
"I would expect the National Government to act in accordance with the precautionary principle and establish, at least, a moratorium on the application of this type of technique."