George W. Bush is seeking funds to continue an immensely controversial project driving gas pipelines through pristine Peruvian rainforest, threatening rare species and indigenous populations, reports the UK newspaper The Independent. It should come as no surprise that beneficiaries would include close White House chums Hunt Oil and Kellogg, Brown, & Root, a subsidiary of Vice President Dick Cheney's old employer, Halliburton.
The pipeline -- sixty percent complete already -- cuts through, 'an extraordinarily rich ecosystem in the coastal Paracas reserve,' and has already scared off Citigroup and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. This is due in part to a report by the US Import Export Bank, a copy of which was obtained by lobby group Amazon Watch. The report states that the environmental impacts from the pipeline project include destroyed habitats, major mudslides, and 'significant, long-term and largely irreversible' deterioration, not to mention spreading diseases among indigenous peoples (42 per cent of the indigenous Nahua died from diseases contracted from outsiders in the 1980s).
The Independent reports that numerous 'pioneers' --
people who raised more than $100,000 for Mr. Bush in 2000 -- would
benefit greatly from the pipeline, including Ray Hunt, chairman of
Hunt Oil, who (along with his wife) recently gave the maximum
personal contribution to Mr. Bush's re-election campaign. It looks
like the Hunts' investment may very well pay off.
-- Joel Stonington