Peru to work with companies on environmental efforts: minister – by Mitra Taj (Reuters U.S. – September 14, 2016)

LIMA – Peru’s new environment minister said on Wednesday the government of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski would focus on preventing pollution rather than fining companies after the fact, part of a more collaborative stance she described for the private sector.

Elsa Galarza, a U.S.-trained economist who previously headed the research unit at Lima’s University of the Pacific, said that previous administrations tended to mistrust companies instead of helping them navigate environmental rules.

“Since the regulations are so profuse, many companies don’t know they’re breaking them,” Galarza told Reuters in a brief interview. “There need to be mechanisms to help companies, to alert them. ‘Look, you need to comply with this and you’re not, what do you need? How can we help you?'”

Several global miners, including Newmont Mining Corp, Southern Copper Corp and the Aluminum Corp of China, operate in Peru, where conflicts over water and pollution often erupt in far-flung villages. Peru is also home to melting glaciers in the Andes, more than 10 percent of the Amazon rainforest and at least 2,000 km (1,240 miles) of Pacific coastline.

Galarza said the process of assessing environmental damage and levying fines would become more transparent during Kuczynski’s five-year term, so companies get a better grasp of the grounds for sanctions.

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