After Appellate Court in Puerto Montt rejects the appeals for legal protection
“We will appeal to the Supreme Court because we believe our legal arguments demonstrate that the decision taken by the Environmental Evaluation Committee violates constitutional guarantees and is completely illegal” assured Marcelo Castillo, lawyer for the Patagonia Defense Council.
From the Aysén Region, Peter Hartmann, Coordinator of the Citizen’s Coalition for an Aysén Reserve of Life, affirmed “they will to appeal to the Supreme Court, while they prepare to present legal claims before the Committee of Ministers.”
Santiago, Oct 6, 2011 – As announced during opening statements in September, the Patagonia Defense Council (CDP) will appeal to the Supreme Court within the next 5 days in hopes of reversing the decision of the Appellate Court of Puerto Montt, which today rejected the 7 appeals for legal protection filed by a diverse group in opposition to HidroAysén.
“This adverse ruling was one of the possibilities. We will appeal to the Supreme Court because we believe our legal arguments demonstrate that the decision taken by the Environmental Evaluation Committee violates constitutional guarantees and is completely illegal” assured Marcelo Castillo, lawyer for the Patagonia Defense Council.
Patricio Rodrigo, Executive Secretary of the CDP, indicated that the ruling handed down by the Appellate Court – two votes against and one in favor – opens the window for citizens and organizations to present the legal claims prepared during the three months the project was paralyzed in order to shed light on the impacts that were not included in the HidroAysén Environmental Impact Assessment and thus weren’t weighed in the decision of the regional evaluation committee.
“We call on the government and the owners of these projects to be aware: The battle to protect the national heritage of Patagonia has just begun. Chileans will not allow the voracious mercantilism of the few to continue to make profits from something that belongs to everyone” said Rodrigo. In fact, he explained that 70% of the people in the surveys (both regionally and nationally) reject the dams in Patagonia.
He also called on citizens to re-engage in defense of Patagonia and said that the government and related companies need to understand that Chile rejects this project and the people demand alternatives that democratize the energy sector. In addition, he insisted the projects need to be sustainable and cannot sacrifice an exceptional territory for mere corporate interests.
The Patagonia Defense Council is leading the legal fight after the approval of the HidroAysén EIA on May 9th on behalf of Elisabeth Schindele of Los Ñadis (whose house and property would be flooded by HidroAysén), regional leaders Miriam Chible and Alejandro del Pino, the Private Corporation for the Development of Aysén, the Mayors of Caleta Tortel and Chile Chico – Bernardo López and Luperciano Muñoz, along with Patagonian Senators Carlos Bianchi and Antonio Horvath, Senate Presidnent Guido Girardi, Senators Gabrial Silber, Enrique Accorsi and Patricio Vallespín, businessmen Victor Hugo Puchi and Carlos Vial, Greenpeace Chile, the Terram Foundation, Pumalín Foundation, and the non-profit organization Ecosistemas, among other people and groups.