Colombian Farmers Sue BP Over Long-Term Effects of Oil Pipeline

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Oil spillA group of Colombian farmers has filed a lawsuit against the oil company BP, claiming that construction of a 450-mile pipeline in the mid-1990s has caused landslides, permanently damaging soil and crops and harming livestock.

In the suit filed in a London court, 95 farmers claim that BP Exploration Company ignored evidence that the pipeline would damage the land, and never informed the property owners, many of them illiterate, of the risks.

The pipeline, which delivers as much as 620,000 barrels of crude oil to an export terminal daily, crosses 192 rural villages. Farmers say that during construction, natural vegetation that protected their soil from the elements was removed, leading to significant erosion. Additionally, they say BP never paid them for the damage, which made their farms unsustainable. “The region has been profoundly and adversely affected causing many farms to close or drastically reduce production and causing some farmers to leave the land,” according to the suit. BP denies negligence, claiming the soil failed because the farmers removed forests for cattle grazing.

Article appearing courtesy of Yale Environment 360

[photo credit: ciponline.org]

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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