On the blogs: Fracking controversy on the rise in Argentina

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享OPSur:German photojournalist Stefan Borghardt was detained and beaten and had his equipment confiscated by police because of taking photographs of the Treater oil waste treatment plant in the town of Añelo. Borghardt was reporting on fracking in Argentina, particularly the Vaca Muerta megaproject.The Treater plant is used by the oil companies YPF, Total, Exxon, Pan American Energy (partly owned by BP) and Pampa Energía to dump highly toxic waste resulting from fracking. The Neuquén Mapuche Confederation and several NGOs submitted official complaints about unsafe conditions at the plant last December.Borghardt was taking pictures of the waste storage pools when a supervisor told him to stop and erase the images. Later, the supervisor handed him over to the police who took him to Añelo’s brand new police station (Comisaria No. 10).Today Borghardt will file a complaint with the provincial prosecutor’s office against the police station chief and his superiors, alleging breach of duties of public officials, abuse of authority, and undue confiscation of property. In addition, Borghardt requests an investigation into the conduct of waste treatment company Treater, and internal investigations against the individual personnel who participated in the events.Police harassment against people trying to document conditions at oil & gas industry locations is usual in Neuquen. But this is the first time a journalist had suffered this level of violence. The National Round Table of Press Workers and the Association of Argentinian Photojournalists have expressed their solidarity with Borghardt and denounced the attack as violating democracy and the freedom of expression. Thanks to the support of local movements and unions, and publicity in local and national media, today Stefan recovered his work equipment.Fracking on a large scale generates thousands of tons of waste. Since the exploitation of the Vaca Muerta reserve began, the treatment plants have become a serious inconvenience. The provincial environmental regulator has not adequately enforced control measures at waste treatment plants. Images taken by journalists, neighbors or workers are one of the few ways to control the environmental damage.More: Police arrest and assault German photojournalist at fracking waste site in Argentina On the blogs: Fracking controversy on the rise in Argentinalast_img