Indigenous people take gas battle to court

From Global development | The Guardian Thu Jan 3 2013, 05:45:30

Campaigning groups say further expansion into Amazon territory could lead to 'extermination' of isolated tribes

Peru's biggest indigenous federation, the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (Aidesep), intends to use the courts to halt the planned $70m (£43m) expansion of the country's largest natural gas reserve further into territory set aside for isolated Amazon tribes.

Aidesep said the plans by Peru's energy and mines ministry to increase exploration and drilling in Block 88, the largest gasfield leased by the Camisea consortium, risk the existence of nomadic groups living in "voluntary isolation" in the Nahua-Kupakagori indigenous reserve, 23% of which overlaps the gas block in the country's south-eastern jungle.

The expansion within the part of Block 88 has already been approved. It includes 18 new drilling sites and intensive seismic testing. Before Camisea became operational in 2004 - and ever since - indigenous and environmental groups have lobbied international lenders to prohibit further expansion within the reserve.

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