El Salvador bans metalic mining
El Salvador's National Assembly today unanimously passed legislation banning metallic mining, including gold mining in the country. The new law follows a years long struggle against mining companies by environmental activists, and makes the country the first in the world to enact a nationwide ban on metallic mining. Recent strong endorsements of the legislation by the Roman Catholic church and by the Jesuit-run University of Central America appeared to create the additional momentum needed to make the bill become law.
A New York Times article on the passage of the law highlighted the environmental concerns which prompted the legislation:
The risks of mining in El Salvador, however, are especially acute. The tiny country is densely populated and the second-most environmentally degraded country in the Americas, after Haiti, according to the United Nations.
“Mining is an industry whose primary and first victim is water,” said Mr. McKinley, who added that El Salvador faced a significant scarcity. “We are talking about an issue that is a life-or-death issue for the country.”
Mr. Wright, the legislator who worked to persuade his business-friendly party to support the law, said that climate change was already having an impact on El Salvador. “More than a theory or an uncertain science that it might have been 10 years ago, today for Salvadorans, it is a reality,” he said.