Drilling for Trouble: Should Gore Stop Oxy?

  • Share
  • Read Later
When President Clinton proposed giving $1.6 billion in military aid to fight drug lords in Colombia last week, he probably never thought of the U'Wa Indians. But the tribe is fighting off attempts by Occidental Petroleum to drill for an estimated 1.5 billion bbl. of oil on ancestral lands in the northeast of the country; hundreds of the U'Wa are currently involved in a tense standoff with Colombian troops trying to remove them from drilling sites. This week in New Hampshire, U.S. activists plan to show up waving placards demanding that Al Gore take a stand. Why Gore? Because he helps control up to $500,000 worth of Oxy stock inherited from his father Al Gore Sr., a longtime Occidental board member. Those shares could be worth a lot more if Oxy strikes it rich in Colombia; activists also note that Occidental’s chairman, Ray Irani, gave Democrats $100,000 shortly after he spent the night in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House. The executive director of the Sierra Club, among others, wrote the environmentally conscious Gore about the U'Wa months ago, but the Veep never penned a reply. Perhaps this week in New Hampshire, he will get another chance.