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Fracking waste from the Vaca Muerta shale basin in Argentina being dumped into an open air pit. Greenpeace

A major indigenous group in the Argentine Patagonia is suing some of world's biggest oil and gas companies over illegal fracking waste dumps that put the "sensitive Patagonian environment," local wildlife and communities at risk, according to Greenpeace.

The Mapuche Confederation of Neuquén filed a lawsuit against Exxon, French company Total and the Argentina-based Pan American Energy (which is partially owned by BP), AFP reported. Provincial authorities and a local fracking waste treatment company called Treater Neuquén S.A. were also named in the suit.

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A team of scientists on board the Greenpeace Esperanza ship have documented the existence of a rhodolith field where French company Total intends to drill for oil, 120km off the northern coast of Brazil.

The finding proves the existence of a reef formation in the area and invalidates Total's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which states the closest reef formation is 8 kilometers (approximately 5 miles) away from one of the oil blocks.

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