Print | Share | Calendar | Diocesan Locator
|   ir a la versión españolaEN ESPAÑOL
FOLLOW US  Click to go to Facebook.  Click to go to Twitter.  Click to go to YouTube.   TEXT SIZE Click to make text small. Click for medium-sized text. Click to make text large.  
 

Peruvian Archbishop Decries Devastating Environmental Effects Of Smelting Operation In Congressional Testimony

 
July 19, 2012

WASHINGTON—A U.S.-owned smelter has contaminated the air, soil and water of the town of La Oroya, Peru, something that deserves oversight and corrective measures from Congress, according to a Peruvian bishop in testimony to the House 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 human beings may live with dignity and recover a healthy environment," said Archbishop Pedro Ricardo Barreto, S.J., archbishop of Huancayo and president of the Department of Justice and Solidarity of the Latin American Bishops' Conference (CELAM).

The La Oroya Metallurgical Complex has been owned by the U.S.-based Doe Run Company since 1997.

"Surely the people of Peru, its workers and residents, must share in the benefits of the extractives industries and not be harmed by these activities," Archbishop Barreto said. "Environmental degradation renders the population ill, poisons the air and the rivers, and despoils otherwise fertile agrarian land so it can no longer be successfully cultivated."

In a separate testimony, Fernando Serrano, Ph.D. of St. Louis University shared a 2006 study on public health impacts on La Oroya, which found elevated levels of lead, cadmium, arsenic and other toxic metals in residents' bodies. La Oroya is listed as one of the top 10 most contaminated places in the world. This contamination places children at particular risk.

Archbishop Barreto'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, Archbishop Pedro Ricardo Barreto, CRS, USCCB, U.S. bishops, Catholic Church, environmental justice, public health, children, vulnerable, Congress, oversight, contaminated, soil, air, water, standards, testimony, House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights

# # # # #

Media Contact Only
Don Clemmer
202-541-3206
 



By accepting this message, you will be leaving the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This link is provided solely for the user's convenience. By providing this link, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops assumes no responsibility for, nor does it necessarily endorse, the website, its content, or sponsoring organizations.

cancel  continue