This chapter looks at the context and circumstances surrounding the implementation of Argentina’s glacier protection law. We also examine the gaps that exist in the implementation of the law and activities that groups like the Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA)—an Argentine nonprofit environmental organization—have carried out to push for this implementation. It’s a long chapter with lots of different activity and so I’ve divided it up into sections that group sets of issues. The first section will look at the context for implementation, the legal attacks by the mining sector and the provinces against the glacier law and how, in this case, CEDHA organized to address these challenges. The second section looks at how, in the absence of information from the state, CEDHA went about carrying out unofficial glacier inventories to draw attention to the risks glaciers and periglacial areas face from industrial activity. The third section looks at analytical work to assess mining impacts to glaciers, as well as complaint actions presented in specific cases where glaciers have been or are being impacted. The passage in the Argentine Senate of the Minimum Standards Regime for the Preservation of Glaciers and Periglacial Environments (law 26.639) on September 30, 2010, was an important stepping stone to achieve a framework and a guiding path for glacier protection in Argentina, but glacier protection was far from a done deal. The glacier law would still have to be regulated and implemented, the key actors responsible for its implementation would have to carry out their responsibilities effectively, and the law would also have to confront systemic legal and political attacks from key detractors, the first two of which had publicly declared themselves strongly against the law and were ready to wage battle: namely Barrick Gold, the mining company that had the most to lose from the implementation of the glacier protection law, and the executive branch of the Province of San Juan who had bet heavily on a development model based on the promotion of mining activity much of which happened to be in glacier and periglacial environments.
Keywords: Almirante Brown Glacier, Altar mining project, Barrick's Glaciers report, Bianchini, Flaviano, Brenning, Alexander, CODIA, Del Carmen mining project, El Potro Glacier, Famatina mining project, Gauss Kruger Coordinate System, Los Azules mining project, NGX Resources, Pelambres mining project, cryoactivism, eternal snow, geocryology
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