Return to Top Ten
Shell drops Africa pipeline: Enviro costs too great
Chad's Communication Minister Mosuua Dago said that a decision by Royal Dutch/Shell Group and Elf Aquitaine to pull out of its oil extraction and pipeline project was both "unexpected and questionable". He said his government was considering legal action for breach of contract and wanted to ensure the project went ahead. Exxon and the World Bank are the other parties involved in the project, which plans to export oil from the land-locked African country via a pipeline through neighbouring Cameroon. RIC and other organisations have been involved in campaigns against the scheme, and the backdown by Shell and Elf confirms that you, dear reader, have the power to help stop environmentally destructive projects. Please keep responding to our action alerts! Continued pressure on the World Bank is now crucial.The following is a press release from the Rainforest Action Network. Link here to Action Alert.
ON ANNIVERSARY OF NIGERIAN EXECUTIONS, SHELL, ELF PULL OUT OF AFRICAN OIL PROJECT
INDUSTRY ANALYSTS CITE ENVIRONMENTAL, POLITICAL CONCERNS BEHIND MOVE
"Based on its experience in Nigeria, Royal Dutch/Shell recognizes a bad situation when it sees one, and Elf Aquitaine will avoid becoming part of the tragedy. The human and environmental costs of proceeding with an oil pipeline that cuts through the heart of Africa's rainforest are simply too great. The question remains whether The World Bank and Exxon will see the situation in a similar light." - Erick Brownstein, African Rainforest Campaign
Initial reports explaining the decision of Royal Dutch/Shell and Elf Aquitaine to withdraw from a pipeline project in Chad and Cameroon indicate that environmental and political concerns may have been overwhelming. Yet despite continued criticism from forest protection and human rights leaders who question the project's environmental safeguards and see little benefit for the local populations, The World Bank and Exxon have indicated they hope to see the project continue.
Shell's announcement came on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the execution of Nobel Prize nominee Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others opposed to Shell's operations in Nigeria. "Shell's withdrawal from Chad and Cameroon is an eerie homage to Ken Saro-Wiwa," observed RAN's African Rainforest campaigner Erick Brownstein. "Now it is up to The World Bank's James Wolfensohn to live up to high expectations and determine whether this is the right kind of project for U.S. tax dollars to fund."
The African Rainforest Pipeline project will slice through the heart of pristine rainforests, and will put hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of Exxon and two corrupt governments. Transparency International recently rated Cameroon the world's most corrupt government for the second year in a row, and southern Chad is so dangerous and politically unstable that neither Amnesty International nor the US State Department was able to visit and confirm the massacre of hundreds of people. A 1999 US State Department report on Chad shows a government engaged in indiscriminate human rights abuses.\
"Poverty in Chad and Cameroon is devastating and should be a concern for all of civil society," said Brownstein, "but giving billions of dollars to a huge oil company and to governments that are unable or unwilling to help their people will only exacerbate the problem."
Source: Rainforest Action Network http://www.ran.org