© Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
As of the referred ruling, the activity is conditioned to the presentation of a complementary envi-ronmental impact statement (EIS) by the National Ministry of Environment and Sustainable De-velopment (MAYDS). This EIS must take into account:
- Environmental impacts in an aggregate, incremental and/or synergistic manner, insofar as they could produce a cumulative impact on the environment.
- It must be issued assertively and contain certainties, not potentialities.
- The country’s highest environmental authority must be included in the control and supervision, which has been delegated to the Energy Secretariat.
- The National Parks Administration (APN) should also be consulted on the implications that the project could have on the Southern Right Whale, a National Natural Monument (Law No. 23,094), and give intervention to this administration that was not consulted in the previous process.
The suspension of the activity, until the Executive Power complies with a series of requirements for the development of seismic activity in the Argentine Sea, is positive. However, although the decision of the Federal Justice contemplates arguments expressed by citizens and civil society organizations, the suspension measure is transitory. The ruling lacks the proper precautionary approach, and the supplementary environmental impact statement ordered by the Chamber is unclear and is not determined in the current regulations.
This is one instance of many to come. It is a complex and extensive process. The Forum and its organizations in Argentina will follow the development of the various issues with great attention. The Forum reiterates that, in order to ensure the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services provided by the Argentine Sea, a careful and responsible management is required, with an ecosystemic, integral, participatory, science-based, and precautionary ap-proach.
In order to contribute to a healthier ocean and provide solid scientific and technical information to contribute to the debate, as a network of organizations specialized in marine conservation in the Southern Cone, the Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea and Areas of Influence published the technical document Seismic Prospecting. Risks and impacts in the Argentine Sea.
The Forum’s interventions in the public hearings1 are available here (year 2021; year 2022, minute 45).
1 In July 2021, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development convened a public hear-ing on the project called “ARGENTINA OFFSHORE SEISMIC ACQUISITION CAMPAIGN: NORTH ARGENTINA BASIN (AREAS CAN 108, CAN 100, AND CAN 114).” In June 2022, the Honorable Deliberative Council of the Municipality of General Pueyrredón convened a consultative public hearing on the same project. The Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea participated in both instances.