Oil firm abandons road project for Amazon rainforest park in Ecuador
April 26, 2006
The Brazilian national oil company Petrobras abandoned plans to build an access road into Yasuni National Park, in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
The decision follows years of intense pressure from environmental groups and recent criticism by the Ecuadorian government. Instead the company will use helicopter transportation inside the park, according to a statement from Petrobras.
Last summer Petrobras filed a lawsuit against the Ecuadorian government for blocking the road’s construction into the National Park, but the suit was rejected in court, paving way for the firm’s decision to shelve the project.
Pipeline in Ecuador
For the past two years, green groups have actively opposed the road project, concerned that it would open the park’s biodiverse rainforest to settlers and developers. Save America’s Forests, Forests.org, Rainforest Rescue of Germany, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, and Finding Species were especially vocal is raising awareness about the project.
Despite the apparent victory on the road issue, conservation groups are still concerned over oil development in the region. Historically, oil production in the rainforest of Ecuador has resulted in pollution and deforestation. Chevron, a large American oil firm, is currently facing a multi-billion dollar lawsuit for damages caused by Texaco, an oil company it acquired in 2001. Texaco stands accused of dumping more than 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into rainforest waterways over a 26-year period. More than 30,000 local people were affected.