Indigenous tribe sues oil company over pollution in Peru

A group of indigenous tribe members from Peru has filed suit against Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum in a U.S. court, claiming that the company’s operations in the Amazon from 1975 to 1999 contaminated their food and water supplies, hurt their health, and led to the death of a child. The company — known as Oxy to friends and foes alike — “engaged in irresponsible, reckless, immoral, and illegal practices in and around the ancestral and current territory of the Achuar indigenous people,” reads the complaint. Oxy handed its operations in the area to Argentina-based Pluspetrol in 2000, and says Pluspetrol assumed all obligations; an Oxy spokesperson said the suit contains “inflammatory statements, unfounded allegations, and unsupported conclusions.” But residents and human-rights groups disagree. “My people are sick and dying because of Oxy,” says one tribe member. “The water in our streams is not fit to drink and we can no longer eat the fish in our rivers or the animals in our forests.”