Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Constitutional Court strips ANLA of PINES powers

Colombia's Constitutional Court endorsed the concept of projects of national interest (PINES) and the creation of a national system to handle them due to the high social and economic impact, but stipulated that local and regional authorities must be consulted during the permitting process and that the national environmental licensing agency (ANLA) cannot issue environmental permits, which is the competence of the local autonomous regional corporations (CARs), reported El Tiempo. The Court ruled that article 49 of the National Development Plan 2014-2018 (PND) violated the principle of territorial autonomy because it attributed to central authorities competencies that are exclusively those of territorial agencies. This means that central authorities cannot override local authorities in determining the territorial organization and that ANLA will not have exclusivity to award environmental licenses to PINES. The Court also ruled to prohibit mining in the paramo eco-system, ruling that article 173 of the PND that allowed it was unconstitutional, arguing that the right to a healthy environment prevailed over acquired rights related to environmental licenses of mining titles, reported El Espectador. Environmental licenses awarded in paramos prior to 2010 will lose their validity.

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