This Week's Program: Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Oil Pipeline in Peru Ruptures a Fifth Time: How Amazon Indians are Being Burned

IDB, Peruvian Government and Amazon Pipeline Consortia Evade Questions and Criticism about Camisea Failures The major oil pipeline Camisea in Peru ruptured for a fifth time in 18 months, triggering a fire that injured local residents of the village of Echarate in the southern region of Cuzco, Peru. A Health Ministry report stated 25 families were affected. Doctors have banned the consumption of fish from local rivers and vegetables grown in the area until the degree of pollution caused by the spill can be assessed. A report earlier this year revealed a large part of the pipeline was built using severely corroded pipes left over from earlier projects in Brazil and Ecuador and the welding was done by unskilled workers. Another report shows how indigenous communities that come into contact with pipeline workers are suffering and dying from diseases they are vulnerable to as a result of isolation. We talk to Amazon Watch director Atossa Soltani about the Camisea Natural Gas Project, the first major gas development in Peru. It is located in one of the world's most ecologically prized rainforests in the remote Lower Urubamba Valley of the Peruvian Amazon.

Atossa Soltani, executive director of Amazon Watch, a non-profit organization that works to defend the environment and rights of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin.