Rainforest Action Network
Newsletter - October 2001

Welcome! Thank you for being a partner in Rainforest Action Network's campaigns. Read on to get the latest news and learn how you can help save the world's rainforests.

In this post :
1. ACTION ALERT! Help insure the safety of Ecuadorian Activists
2. Background on OCP and Citi

For Pictures of the Blockade see :



Beginning October 11, 2001 dozens of women, many accompanied by their children, began to peacefully blockade construction of the OCP pipeline through the Mindo-Nambillo Cloud Forest in Ecuador. After months of exhausting legal options to reroute this environmentally disastrous pipeline, local activists have escalated their attempts to save this world renowned cloud forest. The activists from Accion Ecologica and local impacted communities have placed their bodies in the path of destruction and say they will maintain a resistance camp in order to call international attention to their defense of endangered species and ecosystems. German Bank, West LB, is the financial advisor to the project. Citigroup is the primary backer of OCP consortium member, Argentinean oil company Perez Companc. Perez Compac and Citi are already set up to benefit from the new oil boom which the pipeline will facilitate since Perez owns drilling rights to two controversial drilling blocks within Yasuni National Park. Oil exploration in these fragile areas is set to begin any time.


CALL Citi's investor relations : 1-888-250-3985 and dial 0 until you reach a human operator. Tell them to use their influence to halt this destructive project and to stop funding destructive activities such as fossil fuel development and logging.

CALL/FAX the Ecuadorian Embassy in DC : Tel. 202-2347200 Fax 202-667-3482 Let them know that the world is watching to insure that these activists are allowed to voice their dissent in safety. Tell them that you are a potential eco-tourist who doesn't want to see Ecuador's spectacular forest reserves like the Mindo-Nambillo Cloud Forest threatened by the OCP pipeline.

Call the NY offices of German bank West LB at 212-852-6000 Tell them to cancel the project and redirect their investments towards renewable energy development that will help the people of Ecuador without threatening biological and cultural diversity.

ORGANIZE SOLIDARITY DEMONSTRATIONS at you local Ecuadorian consulate. The locations of all Ecuadorian consulates in North America are at http://www.ecuador.org/visa.html#ConsulatesofEcuador 

For a full background info on OCP and oil development's destructive legacy in Ecuador See Amazon Watch's Report "The New Heavy Crude Pipeline in Ecuador: Fueling a Second Oil Boom in the Amazon" at www.amazonwatch.org 

For more resources and assistance in organize against Citigroup in your community check out www.ran.org.



To See RAN's case study on Citigroup and OCP check out :

Ignoring the devastating toll thirty years of reckless oil development has taken on the country of Ecuador - particularly on the Amazon and its people - the government and a consortium of multinational oil companies are poised to make the same irreversible mistake by moving ahead with a controversial new oil pipeline project known as the OCP (Oleoducto de Crudo Pesado). Among the consortium's main funders is Citigroup - the world's most destructive bank. As the number one funder of oil pipelines around the world it is no surprise to find Citi playing a central role with yet another massive, destructive fossil fuel project.

Financially backed by Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, and Deutsche Bank, the OCP consortium is comprised of Alberta Energy (Canada), Kerr McGee (USA), Occidental Petroleum (USA) - notorious for their invasion of the U'wa people's land in Colombia, AGIP (Italy), Perez Companc (Argentina), Repsol-YPF (Spain) and Techint (Argentina). The pipeline would transport heavy crude from the country's eastern rainforest region to the Pacific Coast, placing fragile ecosystems and dozens of communities along the 300-mile route in jeopardy.

The pipeline route chosen by the OCP consortium affects 11 protected areas, and cuts through the middle of the Mindo Nambillo Cloudforest Reserve and the surrounding ecologically sensitive forests. This area is home to more than 450 species of birds---46 of which arethreatened by extinction --and has been designated the first "Important Bird Area" of South America by Birdlife International. The pipeline also represents a threat to the area's burgeoning eco-tourism industry, which is expected to bring in $600 million over the next 20 years.

In order to fill the new pipeline, Ecuador would have to double its current oil production, setting off an unprecedented boom in new oil exploration that could lead to the irreversible loss and destruction of some the country 's last remaining old growth rainforest and territories of isolated indigenous peoples. Hundreds of new oil wells and flow lines would be built from existing oil concessions along with facilities necessary to process and refine the heavy crude for transport across the country. These activities threaten protected areas such as Yasuni National Park, Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, and the Limoncocha and Panacocha Biological Reserves. This project would also fuel the search for additional oil reserves covering 2.4 million hectares of frontier forest, the majority of which falls on the ancestral territories of Achuar, Shuar, Huaorani, Quichua, Shiwiar, and Zapara indigenous communities. Many of these communities have vowed to never permit oil development on their land.

Prominent Ecuadorian and international environmental and human rights organizations are calling for the cancellation of the OCP project and a moratorium on all new oil exploration in the country's Amazon region. CONAIE, the powerful national indigenous organization whose non-violent uprisings have led to the ousting of two presidents in the last five years, is joining environmental groups and local communities in filing for a legal injunction in the coming weeks to void the OCP contract with the government.

The Ecuadorian government, the OCP consortium, and the financiers have failed to fully assess or disclose the long-term impacts of the new OCP pipeline on ecologically and culturally sensitive areas in the Amazon region or the coast. The government squashed all public debate on these concerns by closing the public review process a mere three weeks after the release of the 1,500-page Environmental Impact Assessment and fast tracking licensing.

Ecuador's oil exports are primarily destined for consumption in the United States, particularly in California. Not only does this pipeline threaten fragile areas and local communities, it further increases our reliance on oil - the main fossil fuel responsible for climate change. We must call on the involved financial institutions to stop bankrolling destruction of the Amazon and environmental injustice and urge them to invest in renewable energy alternatives - not Amazon crude!