The Indigenous Environmental Network and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation have launched a new campaign against Shell and its destructive projects, including tar sands extraction. They have released a new report on the company’s increasing role in the world’s dirtiest energy projects.
The new report, “Risking Ruin: Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria” , highlights Indigenous communities’ experience of Shell’s operations in Canada’s Alberta Tar Sands, Aamjiwnaang First Nation’s territory in Ontario, Alaska’s Arctic Ocean and Africa’s Niger Delta.
Indigenous leaders attended Shell’s Annual General Meeting in The Hague, Netherlands, on May 22, 2012 where they confronted corporate leadership on human rights abuses, environmental destruction, and economic damage wrought by the company’s operations on local communities. Here are a few of their voices:
Eriel Deranger, spokesperson for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Alberta, Canada, an Indigenous community downstream from tar sands operations that is currently suing Shell for violating past agreements, stated:
“Tar sands extraction projects on our traditional lands are being approved at a pace that is both irresponsible and irreparably destructive. People in the community of Fort Chipewyan are genuinely afraid. Our food and water sources are contaminated, resulting in a fear of eating traditional foods and eroding the continuation of our cultural and subsistence lifestyles. Yet Shell plans to aggressively expand its activities, doubling production. The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is calling on Shell to meet its past agreements and halt expansion until our broader concerns about the cumulative impacts of tar sands operations are addressed.”
Ron Plain, from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Ontario, which has been called ‘the most polluted place in North America’ by the National Geographic Society, and the ‘the most contaminated airshed in Canada’ by the World Health Organization due to its proximity to ‘Chemical Valley’ where Shell’s and other tar sands operators’ refineries are causing serious health and reproductive impacts – stated:
“Aamjiwnaang is the first community in the world to experience birth ratios of 2 girls to 1 boy due to endocrine disruption from the pollution. This is the first step towards extinction. Shell have admitted that their current facility, which is located at the fence line of Aamjiwnaang, ‘could not meet today’s environmental regulations or standards.’ But Shell’s proposal for a new facility within Aamjiwnaang territory was recently denied byCanadafor a whole host of environmental, social and other reasons. The corporate response to that set-back was to build onto the antiquated facility the equipment needed to process more tar sands bitumen.”
Ben Powless, a Mohawk from Six Nations inOntario, representing the Indigenous Environmental Network, added:
“Not only have Shell reveled in being a climate criminal, they have also been exposed as fighting the European Union’s proposed Fuel Quality Directive, in collusion with the Canadian government. Their continued environmental destruction and violation of Indigenous rights across Canada, Alaska and Nigeria show that Shell needs to change their operations or face increasing protest and opposition across the world. Our organization is supporting an Indigenous-led campaign against Shell’s extreme energy projects to bring together frontline impacted communities.”
Thanks to the Indigenous Environmental Network for these updates.