Andes Iron requested that the resolution of the Committee of Ministers regarding the Dominga project be declared illegal
18 August 2023 | News
The company stated that the Committee of Ministers openly ignored what had already been resolved by the environmental justice on the project and demonstrated a refoundational act.
Andes Iron filed a claim appeal to the First Environmental Court of Antofagasta to request that the resolution issued last June 3oth by the Council of Ministers (CM) regarding the Dominga project, as well as the agreement that founded it, are declared illegal.
In its letter, Andes Iron points out that the CM openly contradicts and ignores all the reasoning contained in the ruling issued on April 16, 2021 by the First Environmental Court of Antofagasta (1TA) itself regarding the Dominga project. In this way, it is indicated in the appeal, said Committee demonstrated an absolutely re-foundational action, by claiming that the previous technical and judicial stages of the Dominga environmental evaluation process, which has already lasted 10 years, were not binding on it and it could start from scratch in project analysis.
In practice, the CM decided to strip the 1TA of the power to rule on technical-environmental content, turning it into a mere annulment of administrative resolutions, illegally assuming the prerogative of knowing and resolving all those issues that were known and resolved by the CM. 1TA. The document adds that the CM acted in violation of the mandatory force of a sentence dictated by a Court of the Republic, an issue that undermines the foundations of environmental institutions, discourages the development of projects and generates uncertainty in local communities.
The violation of the Committee of Ministers to what was resolved by the 1TA is so unusual, it is added in the resource, that it is graphed in an issue that has been iconic in the case of the Project: the baseline of the marine environment. In this regard, the 1TA resolved in 2021 clearly and conclusive that the baseline presented is complete and sufficient to characterize the territory of the Project’s area of influence, encompassing seasonal and interannual variability, and expressly ruled out that it was only made up of a campaign of two-day field. However, what was resolved by the Committee is simply the opposite: that the baseline is insufficient in intensity and opportunity and that it would have field data from a campaign of only two days.
Along with the above, Andes Iron pointed out that the Dominga project has passed the technical and environmental test time and time again, being rejected exclusively in political instances and for ideological reasons, so that the open disobedience of the CM to the 1TA can only be explained by the fulfillment of one of the main campaign promises of the current Administration: No to Dominga. The appeal recalls that the Dominga project has been one of the most reviewed instances in the history of our environmental institutions and that each time the review has been carried out by technical, objective, and impartial entities, it has concluded that the Project complies with the applicable environmental regulations, that it was correctly evaluated and that it has the appropriate measures to deal with its impacts. However, Dominga has suffered very different luck when the review has been carried out by political entities, those who have decided based on ideological conceptions.
The appeal also reiterates that Dominga is fully compatible with the territorial ordering of the Coquimbo Region and the Commune of La Higuera and with the protection of the ecosystem where it is inserted, as comparative experience has shown, information that proves that the port activity and maritime protection is perfectly compatible with the safeguarding of biodiversity protection zones.
Along with the aforementioned arguments, Andes Iron pointed out the CM’s open breach of the fatal deadline to resolve – taking not 60 days but around a year and a half to be resolved – and the transgression of the very nature of the SEIA, among other illegalities.