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URUGUAY - THERE WILL BE NO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF UPM

14/05/2017. The chairs were painted leather. Celestes. Matched the color of the tie that President Tabaré Vázquez, elected for the whole European tour. The living room set was completed with four individual pieces. The day had been long and the president wanted to rest a while before climbing to the hotel room.

A few hours before they had met with the number one UPM: Finnish CEO Jussi Pesonen.


On the afternoon of Monday, February 13, Vazquez left the meeting with concerns about the train. His watchfulness to solve "the key point" to allow installation of the second plant is under way. Now one of the key government spends to look after the environmental level, and minimized the impact of increased foreign investment in the country's history. Therefore, the company promised to ensure the highest standards of environmental control. Even more modern than those already applied for the first project in Fray Bentos.


"What keeps me awake is the train," he said in late February that the president sat on the couches of the hotel with a group of collaborators from his government. He paused. His companions looked at him. He thought a moment and added: "If we arrange that the rest is solved," he said in his usual tone almost whisper.

The president signed a confidentiality agreement with the company following the progress of negotiations. You know that the project will be implemented, but you can not say publicly. You must finish seal the deal and sign the memorandum. Unsigned contract no second floor. But that is not your watchfulness.

Vazquez now wakefulness is another. The head of state wants all protocols and security controls are activated to avoid questions, both from the political scene, as environmental organizations, they said El Pais Three Hierarchs executive.

Minister of Housing and Environment, Eneida De Leon, is responsible for working on the issue.

While still working in the contract or memorandum of understanding between the parties, UPM and government have different teams working in parallel to advance the project.

Therefore, in the executive branch and the Finnish company handled environmental impact studies on different planes. One is a preliminary study on the impact of the pulp mill to be located near Paso de los Toros on the Black River. But also handle analysis of environmental and urban impact on the new railway system linking the factory to the port of Montevideo. In recent weeks the Finnish firm revived a call for tenders for a new environmental impact study by the railroad.

In negotiations between the company and the government they analyzed the technical studies. "There were talks too specific about technology, characteristics of the factory, working models. Purely technical information contributed by the company and also manage the government," he said a government source told El Pais. The chief explained that the National Directorate of Environment provided the current reality of the Black River.

The conclusion of the talks that the new plant UPM provide a phosphorus load between 2% and 3% of current levels has emerged the black river. The rest of the phosphorus that has the flow correspond to other agricultural and industrial enterprises.
In the case of Uruguay river the water situation has been very controlled manner binational (Uruguay-Argentina). UPM plant in Fray Bentos installed is allowed to shed 74 kilos of phosphorus per day to Uruguay river. In the case of the other pulp mill located in Conchillas (Montes del Plata) level permitted phosphorus pouring the flow is 140 kilos per day.

These figures show that official studies UPM Fray Bentos Uruguay River contributes to 0.01% of total phosphorus that has the watercourse.
However the situation in the Black River is different, and the concern of the authorities is to improve current levels of water quality. The issue was discussed in one of the last meetings of the Council of Ministers.
President Vazquez requested "be vigilant" and devise "concrete actions" to improve the quality of the river.
The concern prompted the president ordered the first of thematic radio and television was on "water as a resource".
Studies that handles the government and the company show that the quality of the Black River is "good", but the level of nutrients that industrial production discharged into the watercourse is growing "rapidly and the quality is getting worse every year."


Nitrogen and phosphorus are the main elements that tend to increase in concentration in the water and cause the growth of plants and seaweeds. The concern of the authorities is that actually causes the loss of oxygen in the water, which directly impacts the lives of fish and river animals.


"UPM is committed to driving the highest standards of environmental control. They even be more modern and sophisticated than those existing for the two plants that are already in the country. They are demanding global protocols, not just locally. And that also spoke meeting in Helsinki in February, "he told El País a hierarch of government who preferred anonymity because of the confidentiality agreement signed between the parties.


Topolansky and the letter of doubts.


The Frente Amplio senator and wife of former President José Mujica, signed a letter warning you about the environmental effects it could have the second floor of UPM. Along with her other 190 frenteamplistas adhered to text with his signature. The petition is available on the change.org page.


The paper argues that "the improvement of an aging and outdated railway infrastructure is the best alternative for the development of the transport system of cargo and passengers, provided that its design does not contribute to increase urban socio fragmentation of the territory concerned." They require signatories to protect the heritage, Montevideo Bay and the port landscape and connectivity of the city and port access.


EXAMPLE IN EUROPE.


They apply the same controls Finns.
In the third quarter of 2017 it will prompt the largest pulp mill in Finland. It is Botnia factory (now Metsa Fiber) located on Lake Äänekoski. The total investment is 1.2 billion euros, and its production will be similar to that provided for the second plant that UPM intends to install in the center of the Uruguayan territory.


This lake receives tributaries of 530,000 tons of pulp. The river is 75 m3 per second. Well below the average flow of the Black River where the new project UPM is 650m3 per second will be installed.


The Äänekoski flows into the Päijänne lake that receives sewage affluents of more than 300,000. It is the second largest lake in Finland. The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE for its acronym in German) rated the quality of its waters as "excellent".


Lake that supplies drinking water to more than one million inhabitants in the capital Helsinki, and nearby villages.


Environmental control protocols applied here are the same to be held in the Black River is running once the second floor of UPM. The example was transmitted by the authorities of the Finnish company Vazquez government in meetings where environmental issues was discussed.
For President Vazquez, the environmental issue is central, even considered until a personal matter. The president told his team that wants to avoid the problems that led to the installation of the UPM plant in Fray Bentos.


This year marks 10 years since the factory engines ignited. In that 2007 Broad Front government faced a harsh retaliation from the Argentine government led by the family Kirchner (Nestor and Cristina Fernández) who took to cut the binational bridges Fray Bentos and Paysandu affecting tourism.


In August last year, Vazquez said the government made "an analysis with the company taking into account environmental management, social impact management and the issue of infrastructure." He ruled out problems with Argentina, and the subject said he spoke with the president of that country Mauricio Macri who did not object.


"We can move forward with far fewer difficulties with the installation of the first floor where we paid the price for inexperience," he said at the press conference.

 

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