CANADA’S ENCANA OIL COMPANY OPERATING WITHIN CUYABENO WILDLIFE RESERVE
In spite of the opposition presented by both citizens and officials in Sucumbios Province and local conflict surrounding the issue Canadian oil company EnCana is preparing to set off 10,000 dynamite detonations within the Cuyabeno Reserve.
This area was declared a Wildlife Reserve in July of 1979. The limits of the Reserve were enhanced and redefined in 1994 to make it 603, 380 hectares. In January of 1999, 435, 500 hectares of the park was Presidentially decreed an Intangible Zone. This implies the prohibition of any commercial activity that involves extracting natural resources. It also reinforces the territorial and collective rights of Indigenous groups that traditionally inhabit this zone.
In 1978 what is now EnCana began oil operation in the western part of the Reserve.
At present, the company operates in the Tarapoa Block which has a surface of approximately 60,000 hectares of which 34,000 are supposedly Patrimonial forest, and approximately 17,000 within the reserve itself.
Now, after having a severely inadequate environmental assessment approved by a corrupt government EnCana has begun the process of seismic testing within the Reserve. Their presence is completely legally illegitimate due to the fact that it breaks Ecuador’s laws of conservation, not to mention Constitutional articles 86, 23, art. 88 and 6 and well as article 91 of our Supreme Norm and in principles 3 and 15 of the Declaration of River on the Medio.ambiente and the Development of which Ecuador is subscribed.
In terms of environmental impact, the seismic testing means the destruction of the territory. The detonations will damage sources of water that serve the Cuyabeno lake system. In addition the building of roads will mean deforestation, entrance of colonists and erosion. The presence of helicopters produces noise that drives animals away, and forces birds to migrate elsewhere. One of the consequences of EnCana’s operation will most definitely be the loss of biodiversity in this region that is heralded as unique in the world.
The local governments of Cuyabeno, Putumayo, Lago Agrio, Provincial authorities of Sucumbíos, tourist operators and guides, universities, NGOs such as Accion Ecological, and parochial farmers organizations recently formed a Committee for the Defense of the Cuyabeno. Its only objective is for the company to leave the reserve and have it declared an Intangible Zone. The Committee has initiated talks with the Ministries of Environment and Energy and Mines, demanding urgent political action to save Cuyabeno.
Lic. Luis Merino
Director of Environmental Protection
Municipal Government of Cuyabeno
Campaign Coordinator for the Defense of Cuyabeno
Tel 2547516 2527583 099007794