Occidental has been accused of contaminating an area of the Peruvian Amazon where it and its successor company have drilled for oil for the past 32 years, creating misery for the local Achuar people and widespread lead and cadmium poisoning.
Amazon Watch and EarthRights International have accused Oxy of violating Peruvian and international law by dumping an estimated 9 billion barrels of toxic waste in the area since it started prospecting in the early 1970s.
The “produced waters”, were dumped directly into rivers and streams used by the Achuar for drinking, bathing, washing and fishing. Medical research documented in the report showed dangerously elevated levels of lead and cadmium in the Achuar population.
“Oxy’s activities fell far short of the accepted industry standards throughout the course of their operations, as the company discharged massive quantities of contaminated waters into local streams, stored wastes improperly, and caused periodic oil spills,” the report alleges.
Occidental turned over the oilfield in the Corrientes river basin to the Argentinian oil company Pluspetrol in 2000, and has since divested itself of all its Peruvian petroleum interests, but the report said the pattern of spillage and poisoning continued unabated.
“Oxy’s destructive patterns, and the resulting human rights and environmental harms, have continued on Pluspetrol’s watch,” the report alleges.
Anyone wanting to add their voice to the protests – Amazon Watch is holding a press conference outside Oxy’s AGM at 9 AM today.