Chile-Approves coal mine permit-Not clear if coal methane gas will be flared-Coal gasification
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has been spared a politically damaging campaign to discredit him, at least for now, because he owns shares in a Patagonian coal mine in southern Chile.
Critics had said the president's stake in the Riesco Island coal mine project was a blatant conflict of interest.
But after weeks of bitter campaigning by political foes and environmental protest groups, Comptroller General Ramiro Alfonso Mendoza Zuniga rejected accusations of a conflict of interest.
Pinera, a multimillionaire, has been divesting his substantial commercial interests since becoming president in 2010.
In the Isla Riesco controversy, however, he found himself pitted against political rivals as well as environmental groups that oppose addition of any new coal-fired power generation capacity when Chile is facing notoriety as a major polluter in the region.