Nature wins over fossil fuels in Ecuador
A majority (60 per cent) of Ecuadorians voted to halt its largest oil project underneath Yasuní National Park. The binding referendum permanently bans oil drilling in the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) oil project, located on the eastern edge of the Yasuní national park, one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. There are an estimated 1.67 billion barrels of crude in the ITT fields, with 225 active wells. More than 500 total wells were planned. But Sunday’s popular vote prohibits the opening of all new wells and requires state oil company Petroecuador to close wells currently in production and dismantle and remove all oil infrastructure within a year. The vote also requires remediation and reforestation in the area.
The referendum has renewed Ecuador's democracy and is an example for the whole world, says Ivonne Yáñez, co-founder of environmental organization Acción Ecológica. For over twenty years her organization worked for to protect Yasuní from the oil industry.