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Peru’s natural gas project sparks worry for Amazon’s isolated tribes

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Amazon IndiansPeru’s main indigenous group said on Wednesday it will ask the courts to halt an expansion of the country’s largest natural gas field over concerns that new drilling will harm isolated tribes.

Aidesep (the National Association of Amazon Indians in Peru), wants to overturn the regulatory approval issued in April for a $70-million project by the Camisea gas consortium in an oil block that overlaps an indigenous reserve.

It also wants to prevent other expansion plans in the reserve.

The filings, expected next month, could further delay President Ollanta Humala’s ambitious energy agenda and build on a September ruling from Peru’s constitutional court that upheld the right of indigenous communities to defend their lands from encroaching loggers or miners.

“It’s not a binding precedent, but it was a hopeful sentence for indigenous people and we think we can do something similar,” said Aidesep lawyer Julio Ibanez. “We have the law on our side and can win. We are tired of pressing our concerns with the government without getting results.”

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