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Environmental organization REDES-Friends of the Earth Uruguay and the Sustainable Uruguay Program will hold on Thursday June 3rd a public forum titled "Sustainable, Just and Sovereign Energy System", where national and foreign speakers will participate.
The goal is to generate a democratic public debate about for what and for whom energy is generated, how it will be generated, who controls the energy system and how public policies about this will be defined.
The speakers include Engineer Pablo Bertinat of Taller Ecologista de Rosario (Argentina), researcher Hernan Scandizzo of Observatorio Petrolero Sur (Argentina) and Uruguayan trade union representatives.
In a press release issued on Monday, REDES-FoE stated that energy is a common resource and the access to energy is a fundamental human right and a necessary condition for a dignified life. "It is key to defend a public, environmentally and socially just, sustainable energy system that ensures access to adequate energy for everyone to be able to meet our needs", they state.
The Uruguay government has significantly advanced in the past years in the diversification of the national energy matrix, especially in reducing its dependence on fossil fuels.
REDES-FoE highlighted these advances in their press release. Nevertheless, they consider that it is necessary to continue advancing towards an energy system where energy production and use do not contribute to climate change or the degradation of water, air and biodiversity. In addition, the Uruguayan organization expressed its concern over the country moving towards the development of fracking projects in the future for the exploitation of non conventional hydrocarbons, such as shale gas.
In July 2012, the Uruguayan state company in charge of the production of fuel, lubricants, gas, alcohol and Portland cement, ANCAP, signed an agreement with US company Schuepbach Energy Uruguay SRL (SEU) for the exploration and potential exploitation of hydrocarbon in Uruguayan continental territory. The agreement includes non conventional hydrocarbons.
The impacts of fracking will be one of the issues to be dealt with at the forum on Thursday in Montevideo, and the speaker in charge of this topic will be Scandizzo. In an interview with Real World Radio, the researcher explained that fracking consists in the perforation of compact rock formations where gas and crude oil are located. It is estimated that twenty million litres of water are used per well. In addition, there is a high risk of polluting the underground water sources, among other environmental and social impacts.
REDES-FoE also promotes in their press release the energy sovereignty principle, that implies the right of peoples to decide over their own sustainable policies and strategies for energy production and distribution, aiming to ensure social and environmental justice. "It is not just about advancing towards renewable energy, but to promote popular participation in decision-making processes about this issue", it adds.
The Uruguayan organization closed its press release highlighting the importance to discuss about the technologies that represent a risk for long-term sustainability and about the role of transnational corporations and international contracts and treaties that protect these companies. This issue will also be dealt with on Thursday with a presentation titled "Agreements with transnational companies, bilateral investment treaties and TISA".
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