Ecuador's government of Abdala Bucaram has broken its contract with the United States based Maxus Energy Coperation, but is considering a renewal of the contract. Maxus has been pumping oil from Block 16, located just outside the boundaries of Yasuni National Park. The Block has been unprofitable and has provoked damages in one of the world's most biologically diverse regions. Maxus has had numerous oil spills in the area, damaging the ecosystems and polluting the areas drinking water. This area is home to the Huaorani people. Nevertheless, the Ecuadorian government is still considering renegotiating the deal.
The Maxus Energy Coperation moved into block 16 in 1991. The zone in question (part of Huaorani native territory), was originally part of Yasuni National Park before a previous government changed the park bundaries to permit oil exploration. The oil found in the area is of a heavy, non-commercial, variety, however Maxus was given the production from two wells outside the area which belonged to the state oil company Petro-Ecuador, which Maxus mixed with the heavy crude in order to make it profitable. The Ecuadorian state has gained no financial benefit whatsoever despite its generosity. At the same time, bad operating practices, environmental damage, a collection of broken promises and confrontations with the Huaorani have typified Maxus' legacy.
The Bucaram government still does not appear to be in any rush to move Maxus out of an area that legally is still part of the park (the boundary change was ruled illegal by the Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees) and which brings profit because of state largesse. Maxus is reticent to give up this deal and is putting pressure for the contractual inclusion of the two wells outside the block.
A decision will be taken in the next thirty days regarding this contract. Consequently, Ecologica Action needs to put pressure on Maxus Corporation for what is still one of the world's most biologically diverse areas, despite the damage done to it.
Please show your support by sending a letter to: Accion Ecologica and they will forward a copy to the President of Ecuador and to the Maxus Corperation.
Accion Ecologica y Amazonas
Ulpino Paez No. 118 y Patria
ED Flaxo Terecer Pizo
A sample letter follows:
Senor Abdala Bucaram
Presidente Constucional de la Republica del Ecuador,
I am aware that Yasuni National Park, part of the Pleistocene Refuge, that is in the Ecuadorian territorial boundaries, has an incalculable number of species and a high level of plant species found nowhere else in the world.
We are aware that Yasuni is the territory of the Huarani and other indigenous groups. These people have lived there for many generations have great knowledge about the riches that are found in the region, about their management, and how to live in harmony and sustainablity in that environment.
It is inconceivable that such a precious and environmentally important place would be left "unprotected," in a country that is allowing destructive practices by oil companies. I request that oil companies such as Maxus Corporation be subject to an environmental audit and that they be required fix any damages which the people and natural environment have suffered in the region due to their activities in Block 16.
I ask that you set an example for the world by protecting a very important region where the Huaorani people live and respect the original limits of Yasuni National Park recognized by UNESCO. This will support Ecuador's promise to concern itself with biodiversity, undertaken with the signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Please make a decision in the interest of Ecuador, the Huaorani and the planet itself by not allowing Maxus Corporation or any other oil company to be present in Block 16, or any other part of the original Yasuni National Park boundaries or Huaorani territory.
South and Meso American Indian Rights Center (SAIIC)
P.O. Box 28703 Oakland CA, 94604 Phone: (510)834-4263 Fax: (510)834-4264
Office: 1714 Franklin Street, 3rd Floor, Oakland
Home Page: http://www.igc.apc.org/saiic/saiic.html
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