Oil and Gas banned from Juruá Valley, in the Brazilian Amazon

Vale do Jurua - Acre - Brazil

Jurua Valley – Acre – Brazil – Credits: Wikipedia

Last December, the indigenous peoples of the Javari Valley requested 350.org to help them defend against the threat of exploitation of oil and gas in their territories. We were given a mission to help make their voices heard worldwide.

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Javari Valley – Acre – Brazil – Credits: Instituto Socioambiental

The Javari Valley is a region in the far west of Brazil, in Amazonas state, which is adjacent to the Jurua Valley region in the state of Acre. This region is recognized as the most important stronghold of the last uncontacted indigenous peoples in the planet.

The Brazilian government has been acting without transparency, auctioning off blocks and areas for unconventional gas exploration (fracking), some disguised as if they were intended for gas exploration by the conventional methods. The great risks this activity represents to the environment and the rural communities is not being considered.

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Meeting with indigenous leadership at Juruá Valley – Credits: 350.org Brasil

350.org Brazil is working with partner organization COESUS (No Fracking Brazil Coalition), on an intense campaign to prevent fracking from taking place in our country. There is a bill in the National Congress calling for a 5-year moratorium on fracking, which is now up for public discussion and will be voted in the coming months at the National Congress in Brasilia. We were present in all public hearings committee, and it was in these hearings that prosecutors and local authorities were alerted to the problem of fracking.

In parallel, the No Fracking Brazil campaign held demonstrations and public events to raise awareness and opposition to fracking. By far the most successful of these actions took place during the auction of exploration blocks in indigenous lands in Acre and Paraná, organized by ANP (the National Petroleum Agency). Indigenous leaders gave their statements in front of representatives of major oil companies and the international press.

Coalition No Fracking Brasil protests at the ANP auction! - Credits: 350.org Brasil

Coalition No Fracking Brasil protests at the ANP auction! – Credits: 350.org Brasil

We held several meetings with indigenous leaders, politicians and regional leaders, lectures, public hearings and interviews on radio and television to explain the risks of fracking, with the partnership and support of the Missionary Council Indigenous (CIMI) in the states of Acre, Amazonas and Paraná towards the end of 2015.

Contacts with the prosecutors generated class actions nationwide, and also in Acre and Amazonas. On December 16  we celebrated an important victory for the campaign, when a federal judge in the city of Cruzeiro do Sul, State of Acre, decided the suspension and cancellation of all oil and gas exploration activities, including the unconventional method in Juruá Valley.  The decision also clears all the projects already implemented and in operation, ensuring the preservation of the environment and security of indigenous peoples and the region’s population.This was an important victory for civil society organizations and people involved in the No Fracking Brazil campaign.

In 2016 we will strengthen and expand our campaign. Several actions will take place throughout the year in all Brazilian states, as part of a worldwide effort to stop the most dangerous fossil fuel projects and support the most ambitious climate solutions.

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