Daryl Hannah Joins Amazon Protest Against Occidental

LOS ANGELES - Hollywood actress Daryl Hannah joined indigenous leaders from the Peruvian Amazon here Friday in a protest against Occidental Petroleum at the US oil giant's annual meeting.

Hannah, best known for her roles in 1980s hits "Splash" and "Wall Street," accompanied leaders of the Achuar community who have accused Occidental of leaving a toxic legacy during three decades of operation in northeast Peru.

Activists have accused Occidental of dumping nine billion barrels of toxic effluent into rivers and waterways used by the Achuar people for drinking, bathing and food production.
Hannah said the plight of the Achuar people was especially relevant in light of the oil slick crisis threatening the Gulf of Mexico.

"I think that especially now, after this big BP oil spill in the gulf, it's become really apparent that the oil companies must take responsibility for their impact on eco-systems and our communities," Hannah told AFP.

"Maybe that 30 years ago, they thought that nobody would watch what was happening in the middle of the jungle, but now everyone is much more aware."

Gregor MacLennan, an official from environmental activists Amazon Watch, said the Achuars were demanding a cleanup operation as well as payment of health care costs for illnesses allegedly caused by pollution.

"The Achuars want this to be cleaned up and they want Oxy to pay for this," MacLennan told AFP. "Cleaning up, but also making sure that people who suffer health problems will get a proper health care."

A spokesman for Occidental denied the company's activities had caused health problems for the Achuars, who in 2007 sued the company in US civil courts. The case is currently progressing through appeals.

"We are not aware of any credible data indicating that the produced water from Oxy's operations was discharged in concentrations or locations that could result in the types of health claims alleged by the Achuar plaintiffs," a spokesman told AFP.

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