Oil pollution in Puebla communities has been blamed on Pemex. Oil pollution in Puebla and Veracruz communities has been blamed on Pemex.

Pemex spills a worry in Puebla, Veracruz

Communities claim oil company has made no effort to clean up pollution

Authorities from three Puebla communities affected by a large oil spill that occurred last month have gone to the CEO of Pemex to demand that the state oil company clean it up.

Inspectors from Huitzilac, Benito Juárez and El Coyolito — all located in the municipality of Francisco Z. Mena — say that a 60-centimeter-thick oil slick has contaminated the entirety of the towns’ waterways and crops and left 3,000 residents without water.

A representative from the municipal government of Tihuatlán, Veracruz, added his voice to those of his Puebla counterparts because the community of Progreso de Maravillas in that state has also been affected.

Local government representatives say Pemex has made no effort to clean up the spill, which was caused by a fault in the Humapa 4039 oil well on January 13.

In a February 7 letter to Pemex CEO Carlos Alberto Treviño Medina, the authorities explained that the January spill was the third time that the oil company’s infrastructure had malfunctioned and caused damage to the communities’ natural resources.

Previous spills occurred in November 2016 and May 2017, “but the most recent one is the largest and it’s out of control,” the letter said.

The four representatives told the newspaper Milenio that the letter demanded that Pemex clean up 100% of the damage it has caused and also urged the company to lay asphalt on the main road that runs through the region.

In addition, it petitioned Pemex to build a system to distribute drinking water to local homes as well as a hospital where residents affected by the contamination can receive treatment.

In November, Francisco Z. Mena Mayor Víctor Vargas García said that 90% of the oil wells located in the municipality were leaking gas or oil, a situation that he described as a “time bomb” for local residents.

Municipal authorities have detected damage to wells owned by Pemex as well as others that are operated by multinationals Halliburton and Diavaz.

Along with the Puebla municipalities of Venustiano Carranza and Pantepec, Francisco Z. Mena forms part of the Gulf Tertiary Oil Project running from an oil reserve in Chicontepec, Veracruz.

An estimated 65% of the system’s 4,075 wells have been drilled using the controversial technique known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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