Following a ten hour debate, Ecuador’s parliament has approved oil drilling in its Yasuni National Park.
The Yasuni National Park, which covers nearly 10 000 km2, has seen oil exploration since the 1970s. The park is located in the western Amazon region, which boasts some of the planet’s most diverse wildlife, and holds close to a billion barrels of valuable crude oil.
Earlier, the country’s President Rafael Correa had planned to raise funds from other nations to maintain a moratorium on drilling, but failed to raise enough cash to stop the progress.
Oil revenue to combat poverty
The decision to move forward with energy exploration was met with protests from indigenous groups and green campaigners, although Correa has argued that the approximately €16 billion in expected revenues from the project will be assigned to combat poverty.In addition, the government-dominated National Assembly attached conditions to minimise the impact on both the environment and local tribes. The President added that the oil exploration would leave most of the park untouched, affecting less that 1% of its area.
Edited from various sources by Cecilia Rehn
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