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International developments reported in the current issue of ELR's Weekly Update appear below. For previously reported international news, please use the filter function on the left. For older material reported between 2000 and 2010, visit the Weekly Update Archives.

Current International Update

Volume 46, Issue 15

CANADIAN ABORIGINAL GROUPS SAY THEY CAN BLOCK OIL PIPELINES

Country: Canada

On Friday, May 20, aboriginal groups in Canada announced that they have the ability to block Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s proposed oil pipelines because they run through lands where the aboriginal groups have proven title. These comments were in response to Trudeau’s statement that no community can veto the pipelines. Trudeau told Reuters that the government could approve pipeline projects that connect Canadian oil with the market without unanimous consent. But a 2014 Supreme Court decision decided that “consent” from aboriginal tribes is required before major projects can proceed.

POLAND LIMITS WIND FARMING

Country: Poland

Poland adopted a law banning the construction of wind farms near homes. Under the new law, wind farms are required to be built at a distance that is at least 10 times the height of the turbine. The move could stunt Poland’s efforts in renewable energy, as the ban will result in higher costs for wind farm construction projects. Additionally, the new law will result in a hike in property taxes for owners of wind farms, which industry representatives commented could trigger bankruptcies.

PERUVIAN PRESIDENT DECLARES MINING-RELATED EMERGENCY

Country: Peru

Ollanta Humala, the President of Peru, declared a 20-day emergency in the Madre de Dios region in an attempt to curb mercury poisoning from illegal gold mining. Miners searching for gold illegally use mercury to separate rock from ore; they often handle the toxin with their bare hands, breathe it in when it is burned, and dump it into Peruvian rivers, destroying rainforest areas. The Madre de Dios region’s residents have dangerously high levels of mercury in their bodies. Indigenous and rural communities are most vulnerable to the toxins because they are subsistence fishers.