Environmental News from South America:
- The journalism alliance ManchadosXelPetróleo (StainedByOil), requested information on sanctions against oil companies operating in the Amazon regions of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Colombia, as well as the Colombian Orinoquía.
- After analyzing cases from 2011 to 2021, it was revealed that there were 282 cases of oil spills, with 72 companies involved; half of the companies have been fined.
Over the past four decades, there have been more than 400 reported oil spills in the Peruvian Amazon. In Ecuador, the Amazon suffered from 1,202 spills between 2011 and 2021, according to officials. And in Colombia, the forest has weathered not just the environmental emergencies caused by oil spills but also incursions by militant groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), who blow up pipelines and deliberately release oil from transport trucks. In Bolivia, meanwhile, official information on oil spills is so lacking that it’s almost impossible to know just how badly the industry is hurting the environment.
Despite these socio-environmental conflicts, the voices of Indigenous peoples in the Amazon continue to speak out — even if they’re not always heard. “The state says, ‘well, the land is yours, but the soil underneath, for national interests, belongs to the state,’ and it’s in the subsoil that mining and oil work is done. They’re always trying to move in on Indigenous territories using that argument,” says Indigenous leader Patricia Gualinga, a member of the Amazon Women’s Collective and political adviser to the Kichwa indigenous community of Sarayaku in Ecuador.
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