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PERU
Petrodollars threatening Amazon
3/11/2010
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Hydrocarbon industry affects more than 40 percent of Peru´s Amazon jungle.

The dozens of hastily granted oil and gas concessions Peru´s government has given to countries from Vietnam to Brazil already cover 41 percent of the Amazon region, and exploration and drilling there threatens indigenous populations and local flora and fauna, according to a new study by the University of Barcelona.

The study, conducted by the Spanish university´s Environmental Science and Technology Institute with the US organization Save America´s Forests, found that many of the concessions — 52 that are active — coincide with protected areas and indigenous lands. The lots cover 70 percent of the region.

The concessions overlap with more than half of the titled indigenous lands in the Amazon and cover nearly a two-thirds of the land allotted for indigenous communities living in voluntary isolation.

The researchers said the trend requires a rigorous "political debate" on the environmental and social impacts of the industries, as well as methods to lessen its impact.

In Peru and around Latin America, oil, gas, mining and forestry concessions have been met with strong resistance from local indigenous communities.

Last June 33 people were killed in clashes between police and indigenous protesters in the jungle city of Bagua, where protesters demanded Congress knock down a series of presidential decrees that would have opened up their land to more privately-run extractive industries. Congress repealed some of the decrees.
—Latinamerica Press.


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