On 23 May, nine indigenous organisations, supported by no less than 54 other civil society bodies, condemned the rejection of a report by Congress (32 votes against and 22 abstentions) critical of the role of Petroperú.
Led by César Villanueva, the former prime minister, the congressional committee examined Petroperú’s dismal record of 36 oil spills between 2008 and 2016. These totalled 32,000 barrels of oil, contaminating no less than 1,415 square kilometres and affecting dozens of communities.
The report rejected the accusation that indigenous peoples (and others) had been involved in acts of sabotage, the implication being that such charges may have been trumped up to cover up negligence by employees. The committee also found that Petroperú had not observed the terms of its Environmental Management Plan. Furthermore, it pointed to possible corruption in the contracting of remediation services.
In their press release, the indigenous peoples expressed regret that an opportunity had been lost for Congress to direct Petroperú to learn from its past errors and take more seriously its legal commitments to observe environmental regulations.
Petroperú has secured the contract for running the pipeline for the next 40 years, a responsibility it will hopefully undertake with greater care and attention than the commission findings suggest was the case in the past.