tal·is·man : something producing magical or miraculous effects?
Uhhh…. not in this case.
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Calgary, Canada (May 3, 2011)– Concerns around Talisman Energy’s controversial and risky plans to expand oil operations in the ancestral terrritory of the Achuar people in the remote Peruvian Amazon were front and center today at the Canadian oil company’s annual meeting of stockholders.
Representatives of Amazon Watch, a US-based environmental and human rights organization, raised vehement objections to Talisman’s current operations in the remote oil block, delivering a strongly worded letter to Talisman CEO John Manzoni from the Achuar Federation, FENAP – the largest Achuar organization in Peru – condemning planned expansion and demanding that Talisman respect the Achuar people’s rights.
“Talisman Energy is at crossroads in the Amazon,” said Mitch Anderson, Amazon Watch’s Corporate Campaigns Director. “Either the company makes a firm commitment to respect the Achuar people’s decision against oil drilling, or the company risks violating the Achuar’s rights, provoking ongoing conflict in the region and posing serious operational, financial and reputational liability for the company.”
Last year, at Talisman’s Annual General Meeting, a delegation of Achuar leaders accompanied by Amazon Watch traveled from the remote headwaters of the northern Peruvian Amazon to Calgary to escalate an international campaign demanding the company cease oil operations and withdraw from the Achuar’s ancestral territory. In response, the company took an important step by adopting a Global Community Relations Policy, but is now proposing an expansion of oil drilling in Achuar territory, violating indigenous rights and its own policy.
“We have seen how oil drilling causes contamination and foments divisions between families, it doesn’t bring development,” said Peas Peas Ayui, the recently elected president of the Achuar Federation FENAP. “The Achuar people have chosen to defend their territory so that their children and future generations can live peacefully on their lands.”
Since arriving in Peru in 2004, Talisman has steadily expanded its operations, and as of 2011, they have operating and non-operating interests in 8.7 million net acres in the Maranon Basin of Northern Peru. In Block 64, which overlaps the ancestral territory of the Achuar people, light oil was discovered in 2005 and confirmed in 2009. Since then, the majority of Achuar people located within Block 64 have rejected Talisman’s plans to expand seismic testing and drill further exploratory wells in hunting and fishing grounds in the heart of their ancestral territory.
“We write to you to reiterate our rejection of any hydrocarbon exploration and production activities in our ancestral territory…” stated newly elected Achuar leaders in the letter delivered to Talisman today. “We demand that Talisman respect our decision and not carry out any oil activity in our territory, and that it ceases all planned exploratory activities.”
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