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13 January 2011 | |

Over and Over

Colombian peasants sue BP for environmental damage

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A group of 73 Colombian farmers are suing British oil company BP in London arguing that the company acted negligently in the building of oil pipe Ocensa in Colombia and breached environmental safety procedures.

According to The Guardian, the farmers state that this caused extensive erosion and damage to soil and groundwater, causing crops to fail, livestock to perish, contaminating water supplies and making fish ponds unsustainable.

The lawyers of the farmers commissioned a scientific investigation to prove what the farmers are saying. They also state that the control exerted by the Colombian Environment Ministry was “inadequate and defective”.

“If the court accepts the evidence of environmental damage caused by the project it could open the way for similar claims by other communities in developing countries who say they have been adversely affected by oil pipelines”, reads the article published by The Guardian.

Although BP denies its responsibility and states that the main cause of soil erosion are the activities carried out by the farmers, a report published on Wednesday on its involvement in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico shows once again its negligence in the extraction of oil.

The report written by a presidential commission to assess the disaster that took place on April 20th –when the explosion of platform Deepwater Horizon caused the death of several workers and poured five million oil barrels into the Gulf of Mexico- points out that BP made avoidable mistakes that are part of “systemic failures” of the oil industry.

Commission Co-Chairman Bob Graham said that one of the main conclusions of the investigation carried out for over six months was that the catastrophe “did not have to happen” since it was “foreseeable and preventable”.

For this reason, the commission recommended to change the way the US deals with offshore drilling and oil spills, and raise the current 75 million dollar liability cap on companies that act in a negligent way.

Photo: http://www.prwatch.org

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