Opponents of Ecuador Oil Plan Advance Toward Referendum


SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras:08/01/2014

Opponents of Ecuador Oil Plan Advance Toward Referendum

QUITO, Ecuador—A coalition of citizen groups and nongovernment organizations opposed to the development of the ITT oil block said it has collected about half the signatures needed to request a national referendum that could block the drilling.

Environmentalists and many scientists around the world are against oil activity in the block, a portion of which is located at the Yasuni National Park.

The coalition needs about 680,000 signatures to request the country’s electoral council to call a referendum. The deadline for submitting the signatures is in April.

The coalition plans to submit a first package of 360,000 signatures in January and the remaining signatures by April. The coalition, which calls itself YASunidos, aims to collect more than 800,000 signatures.

YASunidos includes student organizations, environmental NGOs and other civil society groups.

The ITT comprises three large oil fields—Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini. The block is believed to hold 900 million barrels of oil.

A portion of the land where the drilling would take place is inside the Yasuni National Park, a Unesco world biosphere reserve and the country’s largest nature reserve, located in the Amazon rain forest.

The park is considered one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas and is home to two indigenous tribes, the Tagaeri and Taromenane, which shun contact with the outside world.

“We fight against oil exploitation. We fight for life and we will not rest until we collect at least 800,000 signatures,” said Patricio Chavez, a YASunidos coordinator.

The government’s initial development plan is only for Tiputini and Tambococha, which contain about 50% of the block’s crude reserves. The government plans to later drill at Ishpingo.

According to official plans, development of Tambococha-Tiputini will begin next year, with production slated to start as early as 2016. State-run oil company Petroamazonas, which will run the operation, plans to drill 360 wells: 90 in Tiputini, 90 in Tambococha and 180 in Ishpingo.

President Rafael Correa’s administration has accused members of YASunidos and the environmental NGO Fundación Pachamama, which also opposes the ITT development, of being involved in a disturbance last week against members of foreign diplomatic delegations during protests against a licensing round for other oil properties. Both organizations denied the accusations.

The government shut down Fundación Pachamama last week, accusing it of interfering in political events. Fundación Pachamama has said the government is retaliating against it over its opposition to policies for expanding oil exploration in the Amazon basin.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras


Editorial Committee

David Dunham

Arno Ambrosius

Gustavo López Ospina

Mariana Almeida

Pieter Jan Brouwer

Assistant: Emilia Romero

SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer. 


~ by FSVSF Admin on 8 January, 2014.

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