Peruvian Archbishop Decries Devastating Environmental Effects Of Smelting Operation In Congressional Testimony
WASHINGTON—A U.S.-owned smelter hascontaminated the air, soil and water of the town of La Oroya, Peru, somethingthat deserves oversight and corrective measures from Congress, according to aPeruvian bishop in testimony to theHouse Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, July 19. Congr
WASHINGTON—A U.S.-owned smelter hascontaminated the air, soil and water of the town of La Oroya, Peru, somethingthat deserves oversight and corrective measures from Congress, according to aPeruvian bishop in testimony to theHouse Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, July 19.
Congress"can play a vital and hope-giving role, in solidarity with the people of Peru,offering compliance with environmental standards and oversight so that humanbeings may live with dignity and recover a healthy environment," said Archbishop Pedro Ricardo Barreto, S.J., archbishopof Huancayo and president of the Department of Justice and Solidarity of theLatin American Bishops' Conference (CELAM).
TheLa Oroya Metallurgical Complex has been owned by the U.S.-based Doe Run Companysince 1997.
"Surely the people of Peru, itsworkers and residents, must share in the benefits of the extractives industriesand not be harmed by these activities," Archbishop Barreto said. "Environmentaldegradation renders the population ill, poisons the air and the rivers, anddespoils otherwise fertile agrarian land so it can no longer be successfullycultivated."
Ina separate testimony, Fernando Serrano, Ph.D. of St. Louis University shared a 2006study on public health impacts on La Oroya, which found elevated levels oflead, cadmium, arsenic and other toxic metals in residents' bodies. La Oroya islisted as one of the top 10 most contaminated places in the world. Thiscontamination places children at particular risk.
ArchbishopBarreto's trip was sponsored by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Keywords: extractive industries, smelting, La Oroya, Peru, ArchbishopPedro Ricardo Barreto, CRS, USCCB, U.S. bishops, Catholic Church, environmentaljustice, public health, children, vulnerable, Congress, oversight,contaminated, soil, air, water, standards, testimony, House Subcommittee onAfrica, Global Health and Human Rights
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