March 20, 2019

Defend the River from Fracking Contamination

Río Negro (Black River) in Puerto Tirol (Chaco Province, Argentina) seen from the bridge on main entry towards upstream. Source: Wikipedia. Pertile. Used under CC 4.0

I live in a beautiful valley, in the Province of Río Negro (Argentina) where people have cultivated fruit and vegetables for over one hundred years thanks to the clear, fast flowing river that runs through the valley, giving it life via an irrigation system that was made with great effort by the pioneers of this region.

This productive culture was given a death sentence when the national and provincial governments decided to deepen the extractive system throughout Argentina and in our zone, using fracking to extract gas and petroleum from a 3000-meter-deep layer of rock that lies under the entire valley.

In 2013, without consulting the communities and with a disinformation campaign based on lies and denials of all the destructive consequences of this extractivist system, fracking wells were initiated in the city of Allen (20 kilometers from my city), close to the river on the side where people live.  Fracking wells replaced gardens or were established next to productive fields that are impacted by this activity that is not compatible with growing food.

This brought loud noise and bright lights day and night, nauseating smells, gas leaks, contamination of ground water and wells, and sickness in the population. The fracking company and the hegemonic government media continue the denials and propaganda in support of fracking

The resistance against fracking has been weak and is carried out by a small group, in part because the majority of the population is unaware of the consequences, indifference on the part of many and a Supreme Court decision at the provincial level that ruled against a local ordinance prohibiting this extractivist activity.

"WATER IS ONLY FOR LIFE" and "NO is NO" are some of the slogans that lead the struggle of the Assembly of Comahue for Water in Allen, which expresses opposition each week by organizing a march around the plaza with big signs, but little participation.  Usually there are 15 to 20 people gathered for the march because they know that water is worth more than anything because water is life.

Messages to: Ana Maria Siufi rsm

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