By RYAN DUBE
LIMA, Peru -- Peru's government has eased new environmental
standards in three cities following concerns that they could
shut down refineries that are unable to comply with the
The Environment Ministry issued a resolution over the
weekend that exempts the cities of Ilo, La Oroya and Arequipa
from tougher environmental standards aimed at lowering the
levels for sulfur-dioxide emissions.
The resolution, which was published in official gazette
El Peruano, says that an action plan should be created
to ensure a gradual decrease in the emissions of sulfur-dioxide
in those cities.
The southern city of Ilo is home to a copper refinery owned by Southern Copper.
The company recently sent a statement to its workers saying
that it may have to close the refinery if it had to comply with
the tougher environmental standards.
La Oroya, located in Peru's central highlands, is the site
of a poly-metallic smelter previously operated by Doe Run Peru,
which is owned by the US-based Renco Group.
Operations at the La Oroya plant, which has been known for
causing serious environmental pollution, were suspended in 2009
due to financing troubles. The facility restarted operations
last year and are now being overseen by the creditors of Doe
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