Note: Same story, different continent. Indigenous groups in the Peruvian Amazon are facing the threat of seismic testing for gas exploration – the same kind of testing that the Elsipogtog First Nation in so-called New Brunswick has been resisting for over two months.
And for another twisted connection: Environmental Resources Management (ERM) is the same company that wrote the environmental review for the Keystone XL pipeline. ERM lied to the US government about financial ties it had to Transcanada while working on the Keystone XL review, a review which claimed the pipeline would pose little risk to the climate and surrounding ecosystems.
Unsurprisingly, ERM is in bed with oil and gas industry (again), and is incapable of producing any sort of environmental review worth reading. And, once again, the insatiable quest for the last drops of oil and gas on the earth, all to feed the industrial capitalist machine, threatens to destroy Indigenous lands and cultures. And so it goes.
-The GJEP Team
July 31, 2013. Source: Forest Peoples Programme
Peru’s Vice-Ministry of Inter-Culturality (VMI) has issued a critical report temporarily blocking the expansion of Peru’s biggest gas project and claiming that two ‘isolated’ indigenous peoples living in the region could be made extinct if it goes ahead.
The VMI’s report is a detailed consideration of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the planned expansion of the Camisea gas project in Peru’s south-east Amazon, which was written by the operating company, Pluspetrol, together with UK consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM), and is currently pending approval by Peru’s Ministry of Energy (MEM).
According to the VMI, the health, ‘traditional economic activities’ and ways of life of the indigenous peoples in ‘initial contact’ and ‘voluntary isolation’ (‘isolated peoples’) in the region will be severely impacted and two of them, the Nanti and the Kirineri, could be made ‘extinct.’ The political significance of the project was underlined when only a few hours after being uploaded onto the website of the VMI the report was withdrawn. In the days that followed, senior government figures responsible for the report, including the Vice-Minister of Inter-Culturality, Paulo Vilca Arpasi, resigned.
Almost three-quarters of Pluspetrol’s concession, called ‘Lot 88’, overlaps with a supposedly ‘intangible’ reserve for ‘isolated peoples’. Although Pluspetrol has produced gas from Lot 88 since 2004, it now intends to build a pipeline extension and, in a bid to find further gas deposits, drill 18 exploratory wells and conduct 2D and 3D seismic tests affecting over 300 square km of rainforest within the Reserve.