Peru's rainforest: oil and gas run through it

Peru's rainforest: oil and gas run through it
By Kelly Hearn | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
May 7, 2007 edition

Indigenous groups are threatened as Peru gears up for an energy boom.

POROTOBANGO, PERU - Raised in palm huts deep in the Peruvian Amazon, Gregorio Torres never imagined that below his home was something called natural gas.

Now his Machiguengua Indian settlement in this rain-forest river clearing has solar-powered radio gifted by an international oil company, corrugated tin roofs, T-shirts with company logos, and a shelf of Western medicine.

But this incipient natural-gas boom is bringing new worries, too.

"We want oil companies to leave the rivers and the forests like they found them," says Mr. Torres.

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