Fracking in the Huasteca discriminates against indigenous people
Between different versions of the authority, Pemex will start hydrocarbon extraction works in Huasteca municipalities, despite the population’s refusal.
By Sebastián Escorza
Without consulting residents of the municipalities of Ébano, Tanlajás, Tamuín, San Antonio and San Vicente Tancuayalab, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) will begin fracking operations to extract hydrocarbons in the Huasteca Potosina, according to a report published on monday by the newspaper La Jornada.
The researcher of the College of San Luis, Francisco Peña de Paz, reported that the Energy Secretariat authorized Pemex two exploration and extraction projects for hydrocarbons with the titles AE-0391-M-Ébano and AE-0392-M-Pánuco. At the same time, the Ministry of National Defense would have extended the 63-SLP permit “for the purchase and consumption (without storage) of explosive material”, according to document SM / 0006 of file XVI / 272-1 / 63, issued in Military Field Number One of México City.
Due to the foregoing, Pemex Exploración y Producción will be able to acquire 190 thousand kilograms of high explosive, 500 meters of detonating cord, as well as 195 thousand pieces of initiators and a thousand pieces of cyclonite charges to be used “in the oil allocations granted by the Secretariat of Energy”.
Indigenous peoples are discriminated in San Luis Potosí
Ricardo Sánchez García, representative of the Human Rights Center Samuel Ruiz AC, considered this act as an “evident violation of a recognized right of indigenous communities, to consult any activity that may affect the normal life that takes place in these communities”.
The activist considered that the government of the state did not respect the Law, because for the elaboration of the State Plan of Development it was omitted to make a consultation to indigenous communities in San Luis Potosí. With this omission, the state government can develop future projects that, in this case, will affect the inhabitants of the communities in the Huasteca potosina.
“Yes, of course it is a matter of discrimination, it is worrisome that the governor Juan Manuel Carreras, who should have a position in favor of the community, omitted to make a consultation, which many describe as a ‘simulated consultation’, as some people stated that they have made clear positions against this practice”.
The activist said that the State Government knows the position against fracking in the Huasteca potosina, and said it is a federal matter, so it would not be within the scope of state competence, although, in case of any violation to the human rights, governments at all levels must intervene on behalf of the population they represent.
What rights of indigenous peoples does fracking affect?
Sánchez García explained that the damages caused by the exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Huasteca zone, without the consent of the indigenous peoples living there, are against the right to health, to information, and above all to the development that the inhabitants of the region want, as a community, “there is an important affectation, several leaders and representatives of indigenous communities have expressed that concern”.
The representative of the Human Rights Center Samuel Ruiz recalled that around the indigenous peoples in the Huasteca there is the Cosmogonía del Maíz; representatives of the communities had said that, after the simulated consultation, only their main way of subsisting would have been respected: the harvests.
“By having pollution in aquifers, they talk about poison, (with fracking) they will affect the only thing that sustains them with life”.
Beginning of operations and contradiction in the governing government
Just last July 30th, Juan Manuel Carreras López stated that, for the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Huasteca Zone, those responsible must meet three requirements that include both legal and environmental aspects:
· Analyze the terms in which the exploration will be developed and later, the exploitation.
· Verify the environmental sustainability of the project, guarantee that there will be no aspects related to the contamination of the ecosystem of the area.
· Make a consensus according to the provisions of the indigenous consultation law.
On the intervention of the state government in these practices, Carreras López said that it is the federal government’s job to provide information. His position: “to be done as an activity that can generate wealth in the country, also to generate investment and employment in the region”.
In social networks there is a video entitled “Signature of the Contract derived from the migration of the AE-0391-M-Ébano Assignment (August 3, 2018)”; In the audio-visual material, Abelardo García Badilla, senior official of the National Hydrocarbons Commission, can be observed, signing the contract with Pemex Exploración y Producción.
The firm was attended by Eutiquio López Hernández, public notary number 35 of México City to give the publication of the documents on the official websites of the National Hydrocarbons Commission.
On the other hand, Ernestina Pombo Hernández, general director of bids for the CNH, explained that on August 2 the governing body was informed about the exploration and production authorized by the Secretariat of Energy. The contract, according to the material, entered into force on August 3, with a duration of 30 years and with the possibility of 2 extension periods of 5 years each.
Despite the above, on August 6 the state government sent a press release in which he said, fracking is not contemplated in the Huasteca potosina.
The statement details that governor Juan Manuel Carreras López requested information on the exploration for hydrocarbon extraction in the Huasteca Zone, and the head of the Secretary of Energy (Sener), Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, assured that there are no authorized activities in that region to the use of hydraulic fracturing techniques.
Joaquín Coldwell, according to the press release, pointed out that there is only “the continuity of the respective works in the allocation of Ébano, whose activities do not contemplate the use of these techniques”.
On the rounds 3.2 and 3.3 of exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons that the CNH is in process, “areas corresponding to the state of San Luis Potosí are not included, nor is it expected that any other bidding will take place in the remainder of this administration”.
At the same time, the state government included a positioning of Pemex after the dissemination of the note in La Jornada.
The productive company of the state clarified that in San Luis Potosi lands there is no project in which the hydraulic fracture is contemplated, “reason why the information lacks totally veracity and sustenance”.
He explained that in the municipality of Ébano “conventional exploration and production activities have been carried out for more than 100 years”, and that, although oil is extracted in this area of the Huasteca, no fracking techniques are applied.
“The source consulted on this issue does not have reliable information on the subject, so the statement that provided the correspondent is not true,” concludes the text on the statements of Francisco Peña de Paz.
Are human rights defended?
At the local level, Ricardo Sánchez García determined that the State Human Rights Commission “is weakened, if not subordinated.”
He considered that the guarantor organization seems closer to the government of the state than to the population sectors that must defend against possible human rights violations.
He explained that, in the case of the recommendations, “they have lost quality”, he described them as “omniscient, weak, obscure” and that they do not guarantee reparation of the damage to those whose rights have been violated, for what he considered, there is a strong setback in human rights issues.
The Wirikuta Case
On violations of the human rights of the indigenous population in San Luis Potosí, there are several precedents.
On November 12, 2010, the National Human Rights Commission received a letter from the “Salvemos Wirikuta Tamatzima Wa’Ha” Front, in which it is described that the federal government granted mining authorizations for a company to carry out operations in the protected natural area of Wirikuta.
Later, on October 28, 2011 an email was received in which the front explained that several mining companies had concessions granted by the federal government to carry out operations in this area.
In short, the national agency determined that collective human rights were violated for consultation and participation, for the use and enjoyment of indigenous territories, for cultural identity, for a healthy environment, for drinking water and for sanitation and protection. to the health of the Wixárika people.
The Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of the Environment, the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples, the National Water Commission, the Secretariat of Ecology and Environmental Management of the State of San Luis Potosí, and the Municipalities of the municipalities of Catorce, Villa de la Paz, Matehuala, Villa de Guadalupe, Charcas, Salinas de Hidalgo and Villa de Ramos were found responsible for those violations.