Ecuador’s Government Plans to Keep Drilling in National Park, Despite Vote

"After Ecuadorians overwhelmingly voted to ban new oil wells in a prized national park, the government challenged the legitimacy of the referendum and said it would continue drilling.

On Sunday, nearly 60 percent of voters approved halting new oil drilling in Yasuní National Park, which sits on the eastern edge of the Amazon rainforest and is home to two isolated tribes. The park is a hotspot for wildlife, with 121 reptile species, 139 amphibian species, and 610 bird species. The vote was hailed as a historic victory for forest protection.

The results were contentious, however, as oil is a major source of revenue in Ecuador, accounting for roughly a third of all exports. On Wednesday, Ecuador’s energy minister, Fernando Santos Alvite, said the government would not abide by the referendum, arguing that, per the constitution, only those living in the region can weigh in on oil drilling. In the province of Orellana, where Yasuní National Park lies, 58 percent of voters opted against the ban."

Yale Environment 360 had the story August 25, 2023.

Source: YaleE360, 08/28/2023