The Colombian Environmental Licensing Agency (ANLA) will investigate the Drummond Company after a barge dumped as much as two thousand metric tons of coal as it sunk off the northern coast of Colombia, local media reported Friday.
According to the ANLA director, Luz Helena Sarmiento, the investigation was opened seventeen days late because the Drummond covered up the incident. The environmental license requires the company to report such an event within a maximum of three days.
“Therefore we opened a formal investigation,” Sarmiento said. “We delegated a commission of verification to go to [the nearby city of] Santa Marta, where they will tell us how much coal was dumped in the sea and what environmental effects it caused.”
The crew dumped the coal into the ocean in an attempt “to save human life and avoid sinking the barge”, the company told media. According to Sarmiento, the environmental license under which Drummond operates disallows dumping into the ocean to save the barge.
The precise amount of coal dumped into the ocean has not yet been made clear. The company may receive penalties.
The Alabama-based coal giant does not have a sterling human rights record either. Former paramilitaries testified that Drummond paid them to kill union officials.
BACKGROUND: Drummond paid to kill unionists: Ex-paramilitary