Peru: protest new legal assault on environment

Peru's Unity Pact of National Indigenous Organizations on July 7 called on President Ollanta Humala not to enact Bill 3627/2013-PE, approved the previous day by the Congressional Permanent Commission. The Unity Pact said the approval represents "a huge environmental setback and a blow to the democratic rule of law." The statement charged: "Instead of strengthening environmental institutions, management and monitoring, these measures promote extractive activities, reward those who violate the law, reduce fines and relax the environmental standards." The bill's preamble states that it seeks to "simplify procedures and permits for the promotion and revitalization of investment in the Country." Among other measures, it would limit the period for the evaluation of environmental impact studies to 45 days, which the Unity Pact calls an unconstitutional abrogation of the right to public participation. (InfoRegión, July 8; Servindi, July 7; Los Andes, June 29)