The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Ecuador wants billions to not drill in biosphere reserve

QUITO (AFP) — President Rafael Correa on Saturday said that he wants the world to pay Ecuador some 5.2 billion dollars in exchange for not drilling for oil in the Yasuni National Park, a UNESCO world biosphere reserve.

Until now, the government had asked for 350 million dollars a year for not drilling in Yasuni, where there are some 920,000 barrels of untapped crude.

The figure is half of the profits expected from extracting the oil.

However Correa on Saturday changed gears, saying that he wants Ecuador to receive 5.2 billion dollars instead -- taking into consideration the pollution that would be avoided.

According to Correa, the international community should compensate Ecuador for "prevented contamination," maintaining biodiversity and fighting poverty in the area.

"Calculating the tonnes of carbon that we will avoid sending into the atmosphere, because we are not going to drill for oil in Yasuni, we consider that ... we could or should receive close to 5.195 billion dollars," he said.

The oil deposits, located in the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve and National Park, have presented a dilemma for the Correa administration, which on one hand advocates strong ecological policies, but on the other depends on revenue from oil sales and is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Yasuni is located 300 kilometers (186 miles) southeast of Quito and is 950,000 hectares (2.3 million acres) large.

Ecuador in 2008 produced on average 506,000 barrels a day.

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