Development & Aid, Environment, Tierramerica - Ecobrief

Ecobreves – CHILE: Courts Rule Against Oil Company in Pollution Case

SANTIAGO, Nov 12 2012 (IPS) - A Chilean court has ruled in favor of an appeal for legal protection filed by the community of Hualpén against Empresa Nacional del Petróleo, spurred by the foul odor produced by the oil company’s Biobío refinery in Concepción, 500 km south of Santiago. The ruling of the Concepción Court of Appeals is considered historic by the inhabitants of Hualpén, who are calling on the state for the relocation of their homes.

“We live less than 70 meters from the refinery and the smell and sound pollution are unbearable,” María Mendoza, a local resident and member of the environmental committee of the Villa el Triángulo community council, told Tierramérica.

The community is analyzing whether the court’s ruling could serve as grounds for a lawsuit seeking compensation. “It would be fully justified, because we have endured the pollution for years and no one has listened to us,” said Mendoza.

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