Amsterdam, May 24, 2004
Ms. Marina Silva
MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT
REPUBLIC OF BRAZIL
Dear Ms. Minister,
We would like to express our concern in relation with the plans of Petrobras to initiate oil drilling and exploitation in the Ecuadorean Amazon, in the nucleus zone of the Yasuní National Park.
The Yasuní National Park is the most important National Park of continental Ecuador. In the Park, 107 species of reptiles and 111 of amphibians there have been identified. In all the Chilean territory there are 39 species of reptiles and 78 of amphibians. The tree species number is estimated at 2500 species. The world record of tree species per unit of area has being registered in the Yasuní Park. In the Environmental Impact Study, carried out for Petrobras by the consultancy firm Walsh, it was found that in a plot of forest of 0,25 Ha. 95 species of plants were registered. The soils of the Yasuní are of extreme ecological fragility, due to the presence of Amazonian flood forests.
But its importance is not only related with biodiversity. The Yasuní is the home of the Huaorani People, who are endangered due to the activities of oil companies in their territory: seven oil companies are exploiting oil inside their territory, and as a result they have suffered deep cultural changes and have become very dependent on the «good will» of the companies in order to survive. Medical studies reveal that a high percentage of the Huaorani population suffers of hepatitis B, disease introduced by oil workers.
Organizations in Ecuador are requesting the elaboration of an environmental auditing on the impact of oil operations in the Yasuní National Park, before extending the oil frontier toward the nucleus zone of the park.
Dear Minister: you are an inhabitant of the Amazon; you know the strong impacts that certain types of «development» produce in the ecosystem and in the life of the peoples in the Amazon. We are aware of your sensibility towards people and the environment. For such reasons, we ask you to intercede in this case with your homologous in Ecuador in order to avoid a decision which will contribute to deteriorate the environmental image of Brazil, and also, to share with Petrobras our concerns.
Yours sincerely, Tamara Mohr
Amsterdam, the Netherlands