Monday, March 13, 2006

You mean its not all done just on Chavez's whim? 

About a month ago the complaint of the week of the opposition was that Chavez was proposing to build a large natural gas pipeline through South America to deliver Venezuelan natural gas to points south. It was claimed that this project was being foisted on everyone by Chavez with no thought as to its consequences nor any professional review of it.

Lo and behold, the opposition gets its story wrong yet again as today it was announced that a $9 million engineering and environmental impact study will be done by the countries involved:

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela plan to spend more than US$9 million (euro7.5 million) on environmental and engineering studies for the construction of a continent-spanning natural gas pipeline, Brazil's Mines and Energy Ministry said Friday.

The studies are part of a work schedule for the projected pipeline agreed upon at a meeting in Caracas last week by ministers of Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina. The schedule still needs to be presented to the presidents of the three South American countries.

The countries in December had said they would present a first technical proposal for the 9,000-kilometer-long (5,600-mile-long) pipeline that would link Venezuela's vast natural gas reserves through Brazil to Argentina, with branches extending to Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The countries plan to present a final project by July.

Venezuela's state-oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, will be in charge of finding international consortia through a tender process to carry out engineering studies for the pipeline, Brazil's mining ministry said.

Brazil will coordinate environmental impact studies for the project, taking the laws of each country into consideration.

The pipeline project will likely meet opposition from environmental groups that fear increased damage to the Brazilian Amazon and that the project would attract loggers and settlers to the rain forest. Much smaller pipeline projects in Brazil's Amazon have been halted in courts for years.

So yet again the truth lags behind the lies and spin of the Venezuelan opposition. But, as always, it eventually catches up and asserts itself.


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