Peru delays oil drilling in the Amazon to consult with indigenous peoples

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
May 20, 2013



Peru has delayed auctioning off 27 oil blocs in the Amazon in order to conduct legally-required consultations with indigenous groups in the region, reports the Guardian. Perupetro S.A., Peru's state oil and gas company, has announced it will auction 9 blocs off the Pacific coast, but will hold auctioning off the controversial oil blocs in the Amazon rainforest at least until later this year.

The consultation comes after the Peruvian government approved a law in 2011 granting new rights to the nation's indigenous peoples, including free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). According to the law, such groups must be consulted before any mining, logging, or oil and gas projects occur on their land. However, the law does not mean that such groups have the power to veto projects on their traditional lands.

Luis Ortiga Cuneo, chairman of Perupetro, told David Hill of the Guardian: "We're identifying the communities we need to talk to. We haven't talked to them yet, but we're going to begin next month. We could be ready by the end of the year, but that will be difficult."

The Peruvian government and indigenous people have a long history of tension and conflict over oil and other industrial project on their land. In 2009, 23 police officers and at least 10 indigenous protestors were killed when protests turned violent. Later, indigenous peoples alleged that bodies of protestors were thrown in rivers to hide the numbers killed.

This incident along with rising tensions across the Amazon added pressure to the Peruvian government to solidify indigenous rights. The new law was implemented by President Ollanta Humala a few month after he was sworn-in in July 2011, replacing Alan Garcia who was seen as obstructing indigenous rights.



Aerial view of the Peruvian Amazon. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
Aerial view of the Peruvian Amazon. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.













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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (May 20, 2013).

Peru delays oil drilling in the Amazon to consult with indigenous peoples.

http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0520-hance-peru-oil-delay.html