Amazonia Advocates Deploy Banners During Summit of the Americas | Amazon Watch
Amazon Watch

BREAKING: Amazonía Advocates Deploy Massive Banners Targeting Governor Newsom and President Lasso During Crucial Summit of the Americas

Activists from Stand.earth and Amazon Watch demand leaders end expansion of Amazon oil drilling

June 9, 2022 | For Immediate Release


Amazon Watch, Stand.earth, CONFENIAE

For more information, contact:

Travis Nichols, Stand.earth at +1-404-432-1362 or travis@stand.earth
Ariel Boone, Amazon Watch at +1-530-763-2876 or aboone@amazonwatch.org
On-site: Ada Recinos, Amazon Watch at +1.510.473.7542 or ada@amazonwatch.org
Ecuador (Español): Andrés Tapia, CONFENIAE at + 593 98 446 5175 or sachacristo@gmail.com 

Versión en español

Long Beach, CA – Today, activists from Stand.earth and Amazon Watch have deployed two massive 50’x40′ banners on the Queensway Bridge in Long Beach to demand Summit of the Americas leaders take action to stop the imminent expansion of Amazon oil drilling (PHOTOS/VIDEO available here)

The first banner calls on California Governor Gavin Newsom to stand up to Big Oil and end California’s role as primary importer of Amazon oil, while the second banner calls on Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso to stop the expansion of drilling in the Amazon rainforest. The messages highlight the “Linked Fates” of the two regions during the pivotal Summit of the Americas where international leaders, including Governor Newsom, U.S. President Joe Biden, and President Lasso, have been meeting in downtown Los Angeles this week. The protest is taking place between the Queensway Bay — where tankers full of Amazon oil travel to the Long Beach port — and two of the top three California facilities where the rainforest oil is refined. 

Images from the protest can be found here, as well as on social media under the hashtag #LinkedFates or #StopAmazonOil. Both will be continually updated throughout the day. 

On-site activists are available for interview via Ada Recinos at +1.510.473.7542

Nemo Andy Guiquita, Waorani Indigenous leader and Women and Health Coordinator of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE) said:

“Oil drilling in our Amazon has brought contamination, disease, deforestation, destruction of our cultures, and the colonization of our territories. It is an existential threat for us and violates our fundamental rights as Indigenous peoples. We are calling for an end to all new extraction on our lands and urging Californians to stand with us and demand Governor Newsom end the Golden State’s complicity in Amazon destruction.”

Wilder Zeiser, Senior Climate Campaigner at Stand.earth, who is on site at the protest, said:

“We are here representing concerned citizens from around this state and around the world who are shocked by California’s role in consuming more oil from the Amazon than any other region in the world. It’s time for Governor Newsom to stand up to Big Oil and stop poisoning people in refinery communites and extraction zones in both California and the Amazon.”

Last year, Stand.earth and Amazon Watch released Linked Fates, a groundbreaking investigative report that tracks crude oil from the Western Amazon and found that 66% of all oil exported from the Amazon goes to the U.S., with the majority of that oil being consumed in California. 

Nearly 90% of Amazon oil exports come from Ecuador and President Guillermo Lasso, who is attending the summit, announced plans in 2021 to double the country’s oil production and to auction over 8 million acres (3 million hectares) of mostly roadless rainforest for new oil exploration. If extracted, the majority of this  Amazon oil would likely end up in the U.S., with the lion’s share of that consumed in California. 

Linked Fates shows how California converts 50% of the Amazon oil exported globally into fuel for airports such as LAX, distributors such as Amazon.com, trucking fleets such as PepsiCo, and retail gas giants such as COSTCO. Oil extracted in the Amazon is linked to violations of Indigenous rights, deforestation, biodiversity loss, pollution, and increased fires following road-building. It certainly contributes to climate change. 

This research shows that despite the state’s progressive image and leaders, California consumes more oil from the Amazon than any other region in the world. In fact, 1 in 9 gallons pumped on average in California comes from the Amazon, and in Southern California, the average is 1 in 7 gallons. Marathon, Chevron, and Valero – all in California – are the top 3 refiners of oil from the Amazon. The Marathon and Valero refineries are in sight of today’s protest, with images here. Of the Amazon crude refined in the U.S., 2020 data showed 27% going to Marathon, 22% to Valero, and 17% to Chevron. 

Todd Paglia, Stand.earth Executive Director:

"The world is waking up to the threat of climate change, and the fact that renewables and electric vehicles can ramp up rapidly. Governor Newsom is the first governor in a position to lead not only his state but the nation and the world into this clean energy future. A huge part of this leadership is ending his state's role as the world's largest buyer of oil from the Amazon Rainforest. This is a moral necessity, but Newsom also has reasons to be concerned about this issue politically. According to citizen polling from Directions Research, two-thirds of U.S. citizens are concerned about Amazonian oil imports and would be more likely to vote for elected officials who will take action. Newsom has been front and center in the lead up to the Summit, touting California's role as a global leader. But without taking concrete action on the role of the state's refineries in Amazon destruction, the summit's theme — 'Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future' – is impossible. Amazonian Indigenous federations, Stand.earth, Amazon Watch, and a growing movement believe Governor Newsom must do more to truly put California, and the world, on the path to this future."

Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch:

“California is importing more oil from the Amazon than ever, and its consumption is driving expansion deeper into primary forests and Indigenous territories without their consent. California is addicted to Amazon crude. Governor Newsom needs to admit the Golden State has a problem and take action. Additionally, the answer is not punishing fenceline communities by doubling down on U.S. extraction. What we need is a just transition to a future without fossil fuels.” 

Dr. Daniel Lee, Culver City Mayor, U.S. Congressional Candidate:

"Culver City has shown that it is possible to phase out oil drilling. Governor Newsom and California need to ensure that the state won't be complicit by fostering new drilling in the Amazon without expanding domestic  production. Ending the expansion of oil drilling in the Amazon is a critical human rights, climate, biodiversity priority. 1 in 7 gallons pumped in Southern California is Amazon-derived, we as Californians need to do what it is right and find solutions that will bring that number to zero gallons. I stand in solidarity with the growing chorus of California citizens calling for action now."

Throughout the week, leaders from multiple nations of the Americas, along with activists from around the globe and an Indigenous delegation from the Amazon rainforest, have been calling attention to the threats to Amazonia, and the need to protect 80% of the Amazon by 2025 before the destruction moves past the tipping point. For more information on other activities from the past week, please visit the Amazon Watch events page here.

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