Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos said Thursday he had suspended the environmental license that allowed a US oil company’s subsidiary to explore fracking possibilities near one of the country’s most precious ecosystems.
Santos announced the suspension following a tsunami of public indignation that followed the alert over approved plans to drill 150 holes near the springs of the Caño Cristales river.
This “river of five colors” is one of Colombia’s most beautiful spots and part of a unique ecosystem where the Andes mountain range, the Amazon rain forest, and the Eastern Plains meet.
Environment minister Gabriel Vallejo informed press that, at the order of the president, he had asked environmental authority ANLA to immediately suspend the license “until environmental protection is guaranteed.”
The license had been granted to Hupecol, a daughter company of Dan A. Hughes Company from Beeville, TX, that claims to be active in oil exploitation in Colombia since 1996.
However, the mayor of La Macarena where the drilling was supposed to be taking place took to national radio and caused a major wave of indignation.
In spite of major concerns over the environmental impact of fracking, Colombia allowed he controversial practice in 2014. According to the National Government, Colombia can not afford to prohibit fracking after, partly because of an increase in global fracking operations, oil prices began to drop and the national budget came under pressure.
Hupecol was one of the first companies to explore the newly made available oil fields, but has now been put on hold.