by, Linda St. Cyr
It has been almost seven years since Columbian farmers’ brought about a case against oil giant BP alleging severe environmental damage to their lands from a pipeline. The UK high court is due to decide whether BP is responsible for the £18m ($27m USD) in lost production to Columbian farmers.
British oil giant BP laid a pipeline across the land of over 100 small farmers. The Ocensa pipeline was buried up to 1.8 metres deep along its 828km length in the mid- 1990s. The pipeline takes in approximately 650,000 barrels of crude a day from the giant oilfield. The farmers’ whose land the pipeline stretches across claim that the work was done unsatisfactorily and that the design of the pipeline was at fault.
The farmers claim that their streams and water sources were blocked, leading to uncontrolled erosion, and the creation of marshy areas. One farmer claimed that he could not keep pigs or chickens because there is not enough water for them. Another farmer claimed that the mud created from the pipeline made farming difficult and claimed he could not sell the farm because of the pipeline. The farmers also claim a loss to much of their income during the management of the pipeline’s construction. BP has rejected all the allegations against them.
A judgment in the case is expected to come in February after both sides give their closing submissions. The case has been ongoing in legal arguments for seven years. The latest arguments have been focused on the alleged damage to four small farms.
“Our water supply has been damaged by sedimentation since the pipeline was laid and I have lost cattle,” Velez Montoya, from Segovia, told Judge Stuart-Smith in the London Technology and Construction Court, according to the Guardian.
This is the first time that BP has faced a UK court over its actions overseas. BP claims no wrongdoing in the case saying that it has acted in a fair manner toward the farmers with generous compensation at the time of the pipeline’s construction and that the construction of the pipeline was carried out to a high standard. BP claims that the farms were declining in productivity before the pipeline was constructed.
Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.