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UPDATE: US allies visit Canadian embassy in DC on Pacific Rim mining issue

Bill Waren (Friends of the Earth), John Cavanagh, Manuel Perez Rocha (Institute for Policy Studies), Jessa Boehner (Public Citizen) and other allies at the Canadian Embassy in DC.

Bill Waren (Friends of the Earth), John Cavanagh, Manuel Perez Rocha (Institute for Policy Studies), Jessa Boehner (Public Citizen) and other allies at the Canadian Embassy in DC.

Bill Waren of Friends of the Earth writes, “On Monday, November 12, I joined representatives of several environmental and public interest groups gathered in front of the grandiose and distinctly odd Canadian Embassy, which occupies one of the most prominent sites in D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue, just down the hill from the Capitol and across the street from the National Gallery of Art. …We came to the embassy to protest the activities of the Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Mining Corporation in El Salvador.”

“Pac Rim’s proposed gold mine threatens the water supply and health of the Salvadoran people and has, inadvertently or not, unleashed violence and murder against opponents of the mining project. This is beyond question a tragedy — one which has been compounded by Pac Rim’s suit before a World Bank tribunal, where it is demanding tens of millions of dollars in compensation for El Salvador’s alleged violation of its ‘property rights’ under international investment law, after the government denied the company a permit to proceed with its gold mining project.”

Waren notes they were received at the Canadian embassy by Christian Ranger, the First Secretary for politics, and that, “We delivered a letter of protest to the Ambassador that was composed by the Institute for Policy Studies and signed by Friends of the Earth, the Center for International Environmental Law, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Earth Island Institute, Foundation Earth and Earthworks.”

“John Cavanagh from IPS led off the discussion with Christian by pulling out large detailed maps of El Salvador and the Lempa River watershed. He pointed out that the proposed Pac Rim gold mine would be located in the geologically unstable department of Cabañas and might not withstand earthquakes. John also explained that opening a mine in the Lempa River watershed is inherently risky. The river is the source of more than 60 percent of the water in El Salvador, the second most water-starved country in our hemisphere. The Pac Rim mine threatens not only the water supply but also the water quality in a country whose surface waters are already contaminated from exhausted Salvadoran mines and ongoing mining activity in the Lempa River basin in neighboring Honduras and Guatemala.”

“Ron Carver from IPS raised the issue of human rights abuses. Four environmental activists opposed to the Pacific Rim mine have been assassinated and many others have been assaulted, including an activist priest, or threatened, as in the case of journalists from a local radio station in the department of Cabañas.”

To read Bill Waren’s complete blog, please go to http://www.foe.org/projects/economics-for-the-earth/blog/2012-11-harpers-folly-is-el-salvadors-tragedy-friends-of-the. For Council of Canadians blogs on Pacific Rim, see http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22pacific+rim%22.