Chile Con Carnage
The tourism and salmon-fishing industries are joining with enviros to try to stop the U.S. multinational Boise Cascade from building what would be the world’s largest timber mill in the middle of the Puerto Montt region of southern Chile, which includes the country’s lake district and northern Patagonia. Critics say the $180 million port-and-mill project, known as Cascada Chile, would threaten old-growth forests and double deforestation rates. In the recent past, such views might have been dismissed by the business community, but nowadays many businesses revolve around tourists who flock to see natural sights intact. Rolando Soto from Puerto Montt’s Chamber of Tourism said, “In this region, we are selling nature, and Cascada Chile represents practically the death of tourism.” Chile’s environmental agency has approved the project, but environmentalists have filed a complaint under the Canada-Chile Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a NAFTA-like pact, arguing that agency didn’t adequately weigh the environmental ramifications of the project as required by Chilean law.