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Burma Pipelines

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Burma Pipelines Case Study
OL 690
Helen Cowell
Prof. Jan Wyatt
August 16, 2012

Torture, forced displacement, land confiscation, genocide and arbitrary arrest are connected to the Shwe natural gas and oil project in Burma. What is the damage to the environment and the livelihood of the thousands of the displaced people? Are the people’s human rights being violated by being forced to give up their land? Are Chinese companies being unethical and prey-hunter businessmen? These are just a few of the questions being asked concerning the new pipelines being built.
Natural gas and oil pipelines, which will start in Kyaukphyu, are being constructed to provide gas and oil to resource hungry China. The oil pipeline will be 479 miles long and will be able to discharge 240 thousand barrels of oil per day. The natural gas pipelines will extend even further to Guangxiin China, running a total of 1700 miles long. Burma relies on agriculture and exports of rice to keep their economy afloat. Climate changes, due to burning gas, will have huge impacts on global temperatures in Burma. Burma is a lowland delta region which is vulnerable to flooding.
The project has led to the confiscation of thousands of acres of land across the area of Burma due to creating a “security corridor” adjacent to the pipeline, destroyed the livelihood of farmers due to land confiscation, bankrupted fisherman by devastating the marine ecosystem, due to underwater mining, and killing fish.
Some farmers were paid a fair amount for their land but most were cheated. Fishermen now have to support themselves as general laborers with the construction companies building the pipelines.
The project will bring billions to dollars to Burma’s central government due to large annual annuities. However, it will not benefit the community or the people. The people might be offered low paying jobs but will lose their safe environment.
In conclusion, does it really matter if the people approve or disapprove of the pipelines? All the protests brought about by the people have only ended in death. The government ultimately has control and will do as they please. Should the people just accept that fact and make the best of the situation? In my opinion, the people should try to create a win-win situation by negotiating with the government. All revenue should be monitored by a third party and used to help the locals, environment, and the government. Negotiation will help bring peace back and benefit all concerned.

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