By Ian Hinze
Two routes have been proposed and approved by the Ecuadorian government to pump heavy crude oil from the Amazon to Ecuador's Pacific coast. This project may destroy a unique habitat of 450 species of birds (5% of the world's total), a host of endangered plants and animals, and undermine the livelihoods of local residents dependent on ecotourism. The government has also approved a southern route, which follows the path of an existing pipeline and passes primarily through previously deforested areas, thus causing far less environmental impact. Companies involved are being urged to choose the route that causes the least damage. For more information or to find ways of being of help should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The so-called Northern route is proposed by OCP Ltd., a multinational consortium including Occidental Petroleum (US), Kerr-McGee Energy (US), Agip Oil (Italy), Alberta Energy Corporation (Canada), Repsol-YPF (Spain/Argentina) and Techint (Argentina). Chase Manhattan Corporation (US) is providing financing. Scientists and bird lovers recognize that Ecuador needs the revenues that the proposed oil pipeline will generate, but this is not a case of having to choose between the environment and economic development.