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Much of Ecuador exists under the canopies of the Amazon rainforest, and the protection of the environment is important to the people, with the national constitution making note of the rights that nature has in the country.
In 2011 an Ecuadorean court ordered Chevron Corp to pay $18.2 billion in damages for their careless destruction of much of the Amazon rainforest during oil operations in the area between 1964 and 1992.
And in 1989, the United Nations declared that the Yasuni Park, the most biologically diverse place on Earth according to the Ecuadorean government, would become a biosphere reserve in an attempt to protect its biological and cultural diversity.
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Yasuni National Park. (Earth First News)
However, after a recent announcement by President Rafael Correa, it seems that Ecuador is only in favour of protecting the environment whilst that plan does not interfere with economic growth and development. Existing oil fields are falling into decline, and in order to boost domestic production and create higher revenues, Correa announced plans to develop crude deposits in the Yasuni National Park.
On Thursday, President Correa said that he would present the proposal to drill in the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) oil fields to the country’s congress.
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If approved by congress, the plan will effectively reverse the decision to protect the Yasuni National Park, a reserve that covers an area eight times the size of Los Angeles, and is estimated to contain around 920 million barrels of crude oil, nearly 20% of Ecuador’s entire reserves.
Roger Tissot, the director of the consultancy firm Tissot Associates, explained to Bloomberg that Correa has made the announcement due to “the needs of the government to increase revenues immediately.”
The oil reserves could be worth more than $18 billion, and the government desperately wants those funds to continue its fight against poverty and improve the country’s infrastructure.
The original plan introduced by Correa was actually aimed at ensuring the ITT fields were never developed. In 2007 he presented a carbon-dioxide abatement plan to the UN, asking countries around the world to donate $3.6 billion over 13 years in order to avoid the necessity of developing the oil fields; protecting the rainforest, and preventing the emission of an estimated 407 million metric tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
During his presentation Correa stated; “let no one be fooled, the fundamental reason this failed is because the world is hypocritical. The world has failed us.”
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…