Bolivia to explore oil in seven of 22 protected areas

July 21, 2015
Bolivian President Evo Morales, pictured on June 18, 2015, pledged the oil exploration would not have detrimental environmental
Bolivian President Evo Morales, pictured on June 18, 2015, pledged the oil exploration would not have detrimental environmental impacts

Bolivia will explore for oil in seven of 22 protected reserves, the president said Tuesday, sparking outcry from opposition activists.

President Evo Morales pledged the exploration would not have detrimental environmental impacts, and said the government had held "consultations" before making the decision to search for in the protected lands.

"We have every right to conduct explorations... and we will do it with all our strength," he said.

Environmental activists decried the move, and said the explorations could impact vulnerable communities and flora and fauna.

"These measures threaten protected areas and do not respect... the rights of communities and peoples who live in these protected areas," said Marco Gandarillas, the director of the Center for Documentation and Information (Cedib).

State-owned oil company YPFB president Guillermo Acha said local residents had been consulted and compensated.

"Bolivia has two processes of consultation and participation with the regions where it plans to perform these activities," Acha said.

The land earmarked for exploration accounts for 0.04 percent of the seven parks named, which make up 3.9 million hectares of land in total.

Some 17.2 million hectares of Bolivia's total 109 million hectares are considered protected land, which includes flora, fauna and water resources.

Land-locked Bolivia depends almost entirely on abundant natural resources and farming, producing oil and natural gas, zinc, tungsten, tin and other minerals.

The country's oil and were nationalized in 2006.

Riot police officers guard a plant of Bolivia's state-controlled oil company YPFB on July 12, 2011
Riot police officers guard a plant of Bolivia's state-controlled oil company YPFB on July 12, 2011

Explore further: Isolated indigenous communities of South America under threat

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Oceans of garbage prompt war on plastics

December 15, 2018

Faced with images of turtles smothered by plastic bags, beaches carpeted with garbage and islands of trash floating in the oceans, environmentalists say the world is waking up to the need to tackle plastic pollution at the ...

A damming trend

December 14, 2018

Hundreds of dams are being proposed for Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia. The negative social and environmental consequences—affecting everything from food security to the environment—greatly outweigh the positive ...

Data from Kilauea suggests the eruption was unprecedented

December 14, 2018

A very large team of researchers from multiple institutions in the U.S. has concluded that the Kilauea volcanic eruption that occurred over this past summer represented an unprecedented volcanic event. In their paper published ...

The long dry: global water supplies are shrinking

December 13, 2018

A global study has found a paradox: our water supplies are shrinking at the same time as climate change is generating more intense rain. And the culprit is the drying of soils, say researchers, pointing to a world where drought-like ...

Death near the shoreline, not life on land

December 13, 2018

Our understanding of when the very first animals started living on land is helped by identifying trace fossils—the tracks and trails left by ancient animals—in sedimentary rocks that were deposited on the continents.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.