Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Federal Government Takes Aim at Sinopec: Will Alaska?

The following is the press release sent out to all Alaska radio and television news stations to announce the U.S. House of Representatives' passage of the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act and to call on the Alaska Government to follow the Federal Government's lead and reject opportunities to do business with Sinopec. Governor Palin is likely to announce the accepted bidders for the AGIA contract on Monday, December 24th, so there's still time to contact the Governor's office and let her know we want her to reject Sinopec's bid on the grounds that they are helping to bankroll the Darfur genocide.

Company fueling genocide still in the mix for pipeline contract.

Today, in a bipartisan show of force, the United States House of Representatives passed the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act by a vote of 411 to 0. Last week the Senate unanimously approved the measure which now needs only President Bush’s signature to become law. The bill would prohibit federal contracts with companies fueling the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, including current Alaska Gasline Inducement Act bidder, Sinopec. The bill also authorizes individual states to independently enforce a similar prohibition.

More than two weeks after the Genocide Intervention Network sent a letter to Governor Palin urging Alaska to reject the Sinopec bid because of the company’s involvement in Sudan, the bid is still pending. In a poll conducted last Tuesday by Channel 2 News (KTUU), 80% of the poll’s respondents said the state should reject a gas pipeline bid from a company with known ties to the Darfur genocide.

Sinopec is the largest oil field services provider in Sudan, where the government has been accused by President Bush and Congress of committing genocide.

“The pipeline is an investment in Alaska’s future and should be built in a way that is consistent with Alaskan and American values. We should not allow a company that is currently bankrolling the 21st century’s first genocide to bid for this very important project. Governor Palin should immediately reject Sinopec’s proposal for the AGIA pipeline on these grounds.” said Save Darfur Anchorage member Kelley Nixon.

The links between foreign direct investment in Sudan’s oil industry and the Darfur conflict have been extensively documented by numerous governments, non-governmental organizations, and foreign policy experts. Roughly 90% of Sudan’s export revenue comes from oil and despite the country's enormous foreign debt; Sudan funnels as much as 70% of that revenue into its military.

In a letter addressed to Governor Palin, Genocide Intervention Network Executive Director Mark Hanis said that awarding the contract to Sinopec would amount to support for the murderous Sudanese government at a time when others are divesting from the company, and that Sinopec’s bid presents a significant opportunity for Alaskans to stand up against the world’s worst crime.

Twenty-two states and over fifty universities have passed divestment measures from problematic companies in Sudan. As a result, many of these entities have sold substantial stock holdings in Sinopec. A number of Alaskan state legislators are also preparing to introduce Sudan divestment legislation in the upcoming legislative session.