Ecuador’s parliament gave the go ahead for oil drilling in the nation’s prized rainforest this week.
Members of Ecuador’s National Assembly voted on whether to allow drilling, with 108 in favour of drilling in the “national interest”.
President Rafael Correa has been adamant drilling will be no greater than one-thousandth of the current surface of the Yasuni National Park.
Oil explorer Petroamazonas which is part of state oil firm Petroecuador will be responsible for the drilling.
Lawmakers said citizen review observatories should be created as well as academic research centres to examine the natural and cultural heritage in the park which is home to endangered species such as the white-bellied spider monkey and the giant river otter.
During a lengthy debate before the vote on Thursday, Jofre Poma, a representative for mayors in the Amazon said: “The country is changing and exploitation in fields 31 and 43 constitutes a life for the country and the National Assembly has to take a historic decision, we understand it is not easy”.
Others who spoke on behalf of local communities in the Amazonian region were less accepting. Alicia Cauiya, a Waorani representative said four provinces of the Amazon have been left with more poverty and pollution after seven oil companies operated in them.
It follows the collapse of the country’s ground-breaking scheme to raise conservation cash from around the world in exchange for leaving the oil where it is.