18 Mar 2023, 10:25

Indigenous Peruvians seize oil station, demand cleanup

LIMA, March 18, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Indigenous Peruvians have occupied an oil
pumping station deep in the Amazon and prevented 41 workers from leaving the
installation, state-owned oil firm Petroperu said on Friday.

The Indigenous activists are demanding that Petroperu clean up areas damaged
by an oil spill decades ago.

"Petroperu has been developing all possible actions to achieve the release of
the 41 people who remain deprived of their rights at the Morona Station of
the Northern Peruvian Oil Pipeline," the company said in a statement.

It said activists from the Fernando Rosas community had arrived at the site
on Wednesday.

By occupying the site, the activists have denied workers the "right to free
transit" and have also forced them to stay outdoors, including overnight, the
statement added.

The Morona Station sits in a jungle area of Loreto department, about 620
miles (1,000 kilometers) northeast of capital Lima.

The Indigenous activists said in a letter sent to authorities, which AFP saw,
that an oil spill around the pumping station 25 years ago caused damage that
was never reversed. They said they would block pumping until mitigation work

Built in the 1970s, the Northern Peruvian Oil Pipeline is the longest in the
country, extending 690 miles (1,100 kilometers) from Amazon oil fields over
the Andes mountains to the northern Peruvian coast.

In 2016, spills along sections of the Northern Peruvian Oil Pipeline impacted
Amazon rainforest communities, including in the Morona district.

Peru has been hit by a series oil spills in recent years, including last year
when Lima declared a state of emergency after almost 12,000 barrels of crude
oil spilled into the sea. The disaster affected more than 700,000 people and
forced the closure of 20 beaches and dozens of tourism businesses.

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