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
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