More than a decade, the EPA of the United States helped develop technology that was ultimately allowed to detect the elaborate system of Volkswagen taunted testing vehicle emissions.
However, the (EPA, for its acronym in English) agency used this technology mainly tested for trucks and passenger cars not because the heavier equipment were much more polluting.
That decision meant that the Environmental Manager regulatory body for years lost its best chance to thwart the deception of the German construction from the start.
Portable emission measurement systems from which pioneered the EPA announcing the new series of environmental management leadership symposim subdue the diesel cars on road tests and find out that throwing up to forty times the permitted levels of nitrogen oxide under normal driving conditions.
Without such evidence, Volkswagen was virtually free to evade detection for seven years.
Using Technology to Protect the Environment
“If the EPA had used the technology since then (in diesel cars), they’d caught,” said Margo Oge, who was director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality EPA at that time.
However, she does not regret the decision of the EPA to focus this technology builders trucks and heavy equipment, which have a history of truer emission systems and are responsible for most of the pollution in the United States even more than the growing business of diesel cars.
Interviews with former and official current EPA and other automobile experts and environment indicate that although the United States has the hardest and federal standards for auto emissions, state regulators do not have the resources to perform the type of extensive testing that might have betrayed VW, and that they rely on test reports that manufacturers themselves, in a kind of honor system.
“They believe that car companies tell them the absolute truth. And businesses have proven time and again over time they do not tell the truth, “said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign (” Safe Climate “) and a veteran of the struggle for a regulatory system of emissions more strict.
These products were subject to withholding tax of between 5 and 10%. The decree justifies the measure on the need to improve the competitive position of the Argentina mining against its peers in the region.
Such decision was taken as good news by the provinces with deposits in exploration and apparently the mining sector. However, NGOs and different segments of society raised their criticism to understand that this is an action that favors a highly polluting activity which, in the opinion of those sectors should not be encouraged.
Mining is, since 1993, subject to a regime of fiscal stability established by the mining investment law, which is the State’s commitment not to increase the tax burden of enterprises for 30 years, with the purpose of promoting investment in this sector.
- In 2002, the Ministry of Economy set, on a temporary basis, export duties eminently revenue purposes only amounted initially to new mining investment projects.
- Subsequently, in apparent violation of the regime of fiscal stability, by the end of 2007.
- The then Secretary of Interior Commerce and the National Mining instructed the National Customs to lightest those mentioned export taxes even to companies the regime stability covered them.
- Faced with this situation, which had already led to several complaints that reached the Supreme Court of the Nation, the recent decree eliminates withholding understand that caused “a situation of loss of competitiveness against other nations with mining activity.”
- From the point of view purely tax there is no verifiable evidence that high tax pressure has been achieved, indirectly, protect the environment, but, on the contrary, has led to a decrease in the level of investment that increases the risk considerably.
However, in Argentina, any debate involving the mining sector generates a substantive discussion that questions the concept of sustainable and responsible mining. Probably due to the lack of precise and efficient controls on the activity and political vicissitudes.
It is so, inexorably, is associated with the productive sector with the potential risk of an environmental disaster, not because it is impossible to develop the activity of a technically safe mode, but because of the difficulty of ensuring controls the operation required after announcing the new series of environmental management leadership symposim.
Quickly, this measure is related to the cyanide spill occurred in October last year at Veladero, Barrick Gold Company. Even after the recent news that a new official survey conducted in San Juan said that five rivers in the region were contaminated.
It comes to mind the accident: a broken pipe in the Veladero mine operated by the mining as mentioned above, and subsequent spill of cyanide waters spread through social networks before any announcement of the company or the local authority.
Protecting the Glaciers
The then Governor Jose Luis Gioja and the company downplayed the facts. Even the president of the provincial mining chamber said: “As cyanide is highly diluted in water, podés take up to half a glass that does not make you anything.”
Then it was learned that the spill would exceed one million liters of cyanide solution to the basin of Potrerillos, Jackal, Las Taguas and White rivers due to a failure of a valve maintenance.
Also, it came to mind the law to protect glaciers passed in 2008 by the unanimous vote of both houses of Congress but vetoed immediately by the then President Cristina Kirchner; an event remembered as the “veto Barrick” under pressure from the company responsible Pascua Lama Binational Project.
It already operated the Veladero gold deposit in San Juan, and whose president had met with Nestor Kirchner and Minister Julio De Vido days before the veto in New York.
It is evident that those who appeal to the environmentalist argument for rejecting the elimination of withholding taxes on mining products see it as a prize to mining companies that polluted cyanide rivers of San Juan.
Even though most tax burden will not generate greater environmental comptroller because taxes on mining exports were a no participable tax, which financed general revenues of the national state without specific allocation to environmental policies and without any benefits for the provinces where the extraction of metals and other mineral products produced.
It is true that by announcing the elimination of export taxes in the mining sector, Mauricio Macri urged to “develop” production “in absolute respect for the environment.”
However, the announcement in San Juan without demanding greater transparency, low in the sector, and a plan for serious investment to decrease the environmental risk that any mining activity implies seems a measure that makes preponderant production on health and welfare stocks and sustainable management of our resources.
No one denies that Environmental Manager is prudent to review the mining tax system and the need to preserve the competitiveness of the sector, but should be repaired in that particular measures unrequited may be confused and affect the essential credibility of a government that came to power promising to leave behind a liar to fly new values story.