On Wednesday, July 17, 2019, the presentations proposed by the Mining and Energy Commission began, prior to the indications that can be made to the project, whose period ends on Sunday, August 11.
The first guest was the hydrologist and glacier expert Pablo Waistein, who criticized the law for inconsistencies and wrong definitions when establishing the element and areas to protect. He indicated that the definition of the concepts glacier, periglacial environment, rock glaciers and permafrost does not adhere to international standards, such as those described in the International Permafrost Association .
The guest pointed out that the hydric contribution of the covered glaciers is considerably less compared to the discovered ones. He also mentioned that rocky glaciers provide a water contribution ” very very small, insignificant in some occasions and places “, concluding that the importance they may have depends on their characteristics and location. He added that they are a type of glacier that takes centuries to degrade.
When the guest was asked if Chile needs a glacier protection law, he stated: “ There is already a level of protection in that sense for glaciers in Chile. The fact that any undertaking or industrial action has to enter the Environmental Impact Assessment Service (SEIA) and make an evaluation, and there is the power to say, no, this does not seem to me, this will impact, this is poorly done, it is a protection in itself ”.
Finally, he pointed out that the main problem presented by the law is that it indicates that not all cryoforms are strategic and equally significant, and that these analyzes must always be carried out on a case-by-case basis to be presented in the SEIA.