Shell's environmental destruction
plan for Peruvian rainforest


Unless it can be stopped, Shell Oil will be drilling for natural gas this July in a rainforest area that Peru's government set aside as a homeland for uncontacted indigenous peoples. The 40-year, $2.7 billion project will be one of the largest gas operations in South America. However, should Shell's crews expose the isolated Indian groups to western diseases, the impact could erase these peoples from the Earth. Also, Shell's drilling operations could harm nearby Machiguenga Indian communities.

Based on Shell's shameful disregard for indigenous people in Nigeria, international human rights organizations expect the worst. In November 1995, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight fellow Ogoni tribesmen were executed for opposing Shell's Niger Delta operations. Oil pollution destroyed the traditional Ogoni fishing and farming life, and - says the Wall Street Journal - turned the region into "a ravaged environment. "

Shell's operations will create havoc with established Indian communities. Future roads into its well sites will open the region to loggers and settlers. Shell's first gas well will be drilled inside the Machiguenga village of Cashiriari. Dozens of other Machiguenga communities are located alongside the rivers inside Shell's area of operation, each one facing the likelihood that drilling waste will contaminate its
water supply. The Machiguenga Indians are organizing in response to Shell's project and have formed "watchdog brigades" to keep an eye on company activities and to stand up for their rights.

What You Can Do

Since some of the gas Shell will pull from Peru's Nahua and Kugapakori Reserve will be exported to the United States, we in the industrial north have an obligation to let Shell know that we hold them responsible for the Indians' survival and for the environmental devastation in Peru.

Environment watch