Today, the Inter-American Development (IDB) executive directors approved financing for the controversial Camisea fossil fuel project in the Peruvian Amazon. Camisea’s critics contend that support to the project is paving the way for the indiscriminate destruction of one of the world’s most pristine rainforests and threatens the physical survival of isolated indigenous populations.
“IDB member governments made a critical mistake today,” said Aaron Goldzimer of Environmental Defense. “The project is out of step with international standards and now the IDB has demonstrated it is at the bottom of the international financial community in its environmental and social safeguards.”
“The Bank shut the door on negotiations that could have made a difference in whether or not Camisea brings social and ecological ruin to the Urubamba Valley over the life of the project,” Atossa Soltani of Amazon Watch.
The U.S. government announced its decision to abstain from a positive vote, yet without a clear “no” vote from the US, other voting members felt a sufficient consensus was in place to approve the project.
“Camisea violates international environmental standards and US law. The companies still get US taxpayer funds and IDB management and Executive Directors shall be held accountable,” said Jon Sohn of Friends of the Earth.
The IDB delayed consideration of the project twice in recent months due to outstanding concerns. On August 28, these concerns led the U.S. Export Import Bank to reject $214 million in financing on the grounds that Camisea did not meet the bank’s environmental standards. Two U.S. oil companies, Hunt Oil and Halliburton, stand to benefit from the IDB’s decision. The IDB’s largest shareholder is the U.S. Government with 30 percent of the vote.
“By scrutinizing Camisea, many influential people have learned about the IDB’s non-existent standards. The IDB is very vulnerable to what on-going monitoring of this project will reveal,” said Amy Gray of the Bank Information Center.
“This shows the Bush administration failed to demonstrate moral courage and send a clear signal by voting no on this project,” said Nadia Martinez of the Institute for Policy Studies.
Jon Sohn, Friends of the Earth, 202-783-7400 ext. 231 or 202-412-2467 (cell)
Atossa Soltani, Amazon Watch, 310-456-9158 or 202-256-9795 (cell)
Aaron Goldzimer, Environmental Defense 202-387-3500 or 202-297-2507 (cell)
Amy Gray, Bank Information Center, 202-624-0624
Nadia Martinez, Institute for Policy Studies, 202-277-3234