Peru's Camisea Project Tip Sheet: Update on Rainforest Destruction
Tuesday 26 August 2003
Washington, D.C. - The US Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) is scheduled to debate up to $213 million in loan guarantees for Camisea Project at its board meeting Thursday August 28, 2003, three weeks after Ex-Im and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) delayed Board votes due to outstanding environmental and social problems, including violation of Ex-Im Bank s own environmental standards. The Camisea project seeks to develop fossil fuels deep in the Amazon rainforest.
The IDB Board also August postponed its deliberations on a $75 million direct loan and $60 million in syndicated loans to Camisea at the request of the US Treasury Department, which controls about 30% of the IDB Board vote. Currently Board review at IDB is unofficially expected within a week.
There have been recent developments relevant to the upcoming decisions at IDB and Ex-Im.
Bianca Jagger Takes on Camisea:
Activist and public figure Bianca Jagger today sent letters to Peru President Toledo, IDB board members and IDB President Enrique Iglesias in opposition to the Camisea project. Jagger who was an independent observer to the democratic Presidential elections of Mr. Toledo, calls on the Government of Peru to: stop drilling in the Nahua-Kugapakori Reserve which is legally protected for isolated indigenous populations; prevent damage to primary rainforests; and to relocate the project export terminal out of the Paracas Marine Reserve buffer zone. Jagger is also calling on Toledo to relax the government imposed 2004 gas delivery deadlines so these changes can occur.
Letters from Peruvian Civil Society:
COICA, AIDESEP and COPIP, COMARU among other organizations representing indigenous peoples of Peru today issued a strong statement opposing the location of three of Camisea s drilling platforms inside the Nahua-Kugapakori Indigenous Reserve. The organizations call attention to a ministry of health report from June 2003 that documented 17 deaths and widespread respiratory infections among isolated indigenous populations. Indigenous groups are calling on the United Nations Rapporteur to intervene.
Today 23 environmental, social and indigenous organizations sent a letter to the IDB stating that the fundamental changes Peruvian groups are demanding to the Camisea project have still not occurred and have called for a minimum 3-month delay in board approvals.
Whistleblowers Emerge: Project Worker Points to Destruction
On condition of anonymity, a project worker for Techint, the lead pipeline construction company, sent messages of concern to non-governmental organizations this week. The worker states there is non-compliance with environmental requirements, no effective erosion control, states that massive landslides have occurred in kilometers 57-61 of the pipeline route through the Vilcabamba range, and that plans to restore and revegetate the right of way are inadequate.
The Companies Under Investigation for More Environmental Fines
Just last week, the Camisea consortium was notified of a new Peruvian government (OSINERG) enforcement investigation that may carry potential fines of nearly $1 million for causing erosion and tropical forest destruction, and damaging areas greater than 25 meters along the right of way. OSINERG s president also was quoted in Peruvian newspapers saying that the company has failed to pay a previous fine of $1 million for past violations.
World Wildlife Fund Calls for Major Changes
The World Wildlife Fund urges two U.S. taxpayer supported banks to withhold support for the controversial Camisea Pipeline project in Peru. This is not a question of opposing development, said Kathryn S. Fuller, president of WWF-US. But the Camisea project as now designed, unnecessarily threatens a fragile marine reserve. WWF s position is that the project should not go forward unless the plant and port are relocated to a less fragile area of the coast where they would pose less risk to the Paracas reserve's internationally recognized biodiversity, as well as to the local fishing and tourism industries.
Celebrities Preparing Their Own Campaign
In the coming week an ever growing list of entertainment celebrities will be launching a campaign to stop US Taxpayer financing for the Camisea project due to destruction of the Amazon rainforest and isolated indigenous peoples. More information will be released shortly by Friends of the Earth and Amazon Watch.
The Camisea natural gas project--with reserves of several billion cubic feet of gas--has already been rejected by two investors, Citigroup and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
According to an internal report by the US Export Import Bank, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, proposals to mitigate the environmental impacts of the project are "woefully inadequate" and the project will likely lead to landslides, destroy critical natural habitats, and spread diseases among indigenous peoples. For background information, videos and photos visit www.amazonwatch.org, www.foe.org, www.bicusa.org.