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Ecuador abandons rainforest conservation plans for oil money

Posted: August 16, 2013 |   Comments

( Ecuador has recently caved in to the oil industry, abandoning plans to preserve its pristine Amazonian environment.

Rafael Correa, the Ecuadorian President, announced that the country would be abandoning its unique Yasuni-ITT Initiative, which sought donations of $3.6 billion, about half the value of its oil reserves, to help conservation efforts in the Yasuni National Park. The Yasuni National Park is one of the most biodiversity rich areas in the world; it also contains approximately 846 million barrels of crude oil. After raising $13 million in donations from the international community, less than 1% of its goal, the initiative was canceled.

The initiative was introduced to help the poor country resist the temptation of taking money from the oil industry.

"The world has failed us," Correa said in a televised address on Thursday night. "I have signed the executive decree for the liquidation of the Yasuni-ITT trust fund and with this, ended the initiative."

"It was not charity that we sought from the international community, but co-responsibility in the face of climate change," Correa said in announcing the termination.

Correa said that his approval of the drilling would only affect 1% of the park, but environmentalists are still concerned for this ecologically sensitive area that contains more species in one hectare than all the wildlife in North America.

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