Protesters block pumping station controlled by Mexican oil monopoly |

Protesters block pumping station controlled by Mexican oil monopoly

VERACRUZ, Mexico – At least 300 residents from two communities affected by a 2004 oil spill prevented employees of Mexico’s state-run oil monopoly from heading to work at a pumping station in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, authorities said Wednesday.Locals from the towns of El Platnal and Frncisco I. Madero blocked the Mazumiapan pumping station in Santiago Tuxtla, 170 miles (270 kilometers) from the port city of Veracruz, around 7 a.m. and were still preventing workers from entering or leaving the facility more than 14 hours later.David Lartundo, a spokesman for the oil concern Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, in Veracruz, said the pumping station was operating normally despite the blockade, which only served to keep employees from changing shifts.Protesters are demanding that Pemex make good on promises to compensate those whose property was damaged after an explosion along a pipeline that sent oil flowing toward the Coatzacoalcos River on Dec. 22, 2004.Pemex has made some payments to residents in the area, but has not compensated everybody, according to the protesters.Residents of two of the 10 communities near the pipeline say Pemex has also failed to make public new evacuations and escape plans in case another accident occurs in the area, and has also not built a bridge or pumping station it pledged would help prevent future problems, according to Marcelo Guatzozon, head of civil protection for Santiago Tuxtla.Vail, Colorado

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