From deep inside the most biodiverse part of Earth’s largest rainforest, there is terrible news: Oil extraction has begun in quite possibly the worst place imaginable.
Commercial oil production has begun at Tiputini C, the first of a slated 200-plus wells inside the ITT fields (Ishpingo, Tambococha,Tiputini) underneath Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park. The remote UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that borders Peru has some of the highest species of birds, mammals, amphibians, insects, and trees ever recorded. In just one hectare it has more tree species than there are in all of the United States and Canada combined, an area that is one billion times that size. Scientists believe that Yasuní’s unique concentration of biodiversity and hotspot of endemic species are due to a climate that allowed species to survive the Ice Age.
The park is also home to the Tagaeri-Taromenane, two indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation. Drilling and planned expansion into the park is a virtual death sentence for them, surrounding the nomadic peoples with oil extraction on all sides.
Today, Ecuador is expected to announce production of the first of an initial 3,000 barrels per day, a number that is expected grow to some 300,000 by 2022.
But there is hope. Amazon Watch has been tracking Amazon crude streams and we know where the oil likely headed: the U.S., where it gets into the tanks of vehicle fleets of some of the largest companies throughout the country. We will be releasing a new report documenting our findings and calling on you soon to take action and join us in putting an end to Amazon crude.
In Ecuador, civil society is denouncing the news and indigenous peoples are calling for a halt to drilling.
From Yasuní in Ecuador to North Dakota, where the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is taking a heroic stand to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline, fossil fuels need to stay in the ground, and indigenous rights must be respected. We must stand with indigenous environmental defenders leading humanity out of the age of fossil fuels.