Energy, Mining & Utilities
The Yerisiam Gua indigenous community of West Papua filed a complaint six months ago against a Sri Lankan owned conglomerate for taking over their land to create a palm oil plantation. To this day, the industry body charged with oversight has yet to formally respond to their concerns.
American companies have been arriving in Iraq to pursue an expected multibillion-dollar bonanza of projects to revive the country's petroleum industry. But there are questions about the Iraqi government's capacity to police the companies. "These are for-profit concerns and they are trying to make as much money as they can," said Pratap Chatterjee of CorpWatch.
Grupo Bozovich - Peru's biggest hardwood exporter - has been accused of harvesting illegal timber, in a new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency. The Laundering Machine report claims that many of the timber certificates do not represent the actual source of the wood.
Some 500 Angolan fisherfolk have demanded compensation from Chevron after an oil spill polluted the Mandarin and Mpuela shoreline in Cabinda last month, close to the California company's drilling operations. Under government orders, all fishing activity was banned for almost two weeks.
Less than a year ago, officials pressed mines and factories in northern China to shut down or move away to clear the air for the Beijing Olympics. Now, amid the global economic downturn, priorities have shifted. Cumbersome environmental reviews have been accelerated, and China's powerful state oil companies are pushing hard to postpone nationwide rollout of clean air standards due to the billions of dollars required to invest in their refineries to produce clean diesel.
What began with Vice President Dick Cheney's refusal 15 months ago to make his energy task force documents public expanded quickly to include policy making at virtually every level of government. And, after September 11, the blanket of secrecy - which had until then only covered the brass breasts of the DOJ's Lady Justice statue - darkened some of America's most valued constitutional protections.
A French court slapped jail terms Tuesday on the main players in a network that smuggled arms to war-torn Angola and included an ex-minister and the son of the late president Francois Mitterrand.
A House Republican began a broad investigation on Wednesday of an Interior Department program that is expected to give billions of dollars in benefits over the next five years to companies that pump oil and gas on federal territory.