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Petroleum Sullies the Amazon

Source:  Copyright 2009, Inter Press Service
Date:  July 3, 2009
Byline:  Milagros Salazar
Original URL: Status ONLINE


"Now the fish are going to disappear," said Luis Umpunchi, an Awajún Indian, one of about 20 people gathered around a broken oil pipeline in the Jayais community, in the northern Peruvian province of Amazonas.

Everyone was looking at the oil spill with concern. Some touched the black liquid, which had mixed with the mud resulting from a recent rainfall.

"That oil will reach the Marañón River, where our crops grow along the banks," added Antonio Chu Pumpunchig, who was harvesting plantains when he heard about the leak along the Norperuano pipeline, run by the government-owned Petroperú company, which has several pumping stations in Amazonas.

Station Number 6 in particular was taken over in May by indigenous groups near the town of Bagua as part of protests against decrees that opened up their land to mining, oil and logging companies.

When the police were sent in to break up a roadblock outside of Bagua on Jun. 5, 24 police and at ...

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