Struggles Over Governance of Oil and Gas Projects in the Peruvian Amazon
Lu De Lama, Graciela
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Lu De Lama, Graciela
This dissertation examines the shifting and multi-scalar governance of oil and gas projects in Peruvian Amazon. Using cases studies of oil extraction in blocks 1AB (192), 8 in Loreto (2006 to 2015), and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process for the expansion of the Camisea gas project in block 88 in Cusco, this dissertation explores how environmental decision-making processes of oil and gas projects are structured and enacted. In doing so, this study sheds light on the shifting interactions, negotiations, struggles and (at times) open conflicts between actors that define why, how and where hydrocarbon projects take place in the Amazon. Recognizing the variety of actors, I organize my analysis around government institutions, indigenous mobilizations, environmental assessments and the economic distribution of revenues from oil and gas projects. From my analysis I argue that resource extraction is changing substantially the relationship between the government and the indigenous peoples in the Peruvian Amazon. These changes involve profound changes in indigenous rights and the creation of new institutions and capacities in the state to address the social-environmental effects of extractive industries. The surge of social-environmental conflicts and the influence of international finance institutions have prompted the Peruvian government to reform the institutional framework regulating resource extraction. This reforms are taking place amid the globalization of indigenous rights, discourses, and laws (such as the Prior Consultation Law) granting special rights to indigenous peoples. However, power-knowledge asymmetries in the decision-making processes (such as the environmental assessments) tend to increase the sense of mistrust among the local populations, resulting in increasing social-environmental conflicts. In addition, the uneven distribution of benefits from resource extraction is creating regional disparities, increasing the dependency of some regions on resource extraction. An examination of the implementation of the Environmental Impact Assessment process for the expansion of the Camisea project in block 88 exposes unresolved practices of representation and citizenship of the indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation. However, overall, Amazonian indigenous people’s struggles are shifting the traditional national, social, and political life. They are ethnic minorities and citizens struggling for their rights to participate in decision-making processes and in the distribution of economic benefits from extraction, both particularity and equality.