Ecuador Threatens Amazon Drilling

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Ecuador, the smallest producer among OPEC members, is threatening to drill in an area of the Amazon it previously said was off limits to oil exploration if developed nations do not contribute $100 million to Latin American country's coffers by December. President Rafael Correa made the proclamation on Saturday.

Ecuador said in 2007, the year Correa took office, it would leave the fields untouched for a decade if it could raise $3.6 billion from rich nations, which it estimated was half of what the country could earn from the oil, according to the Associated Press.

Ecuador has only been able to raise $37 million of the $100 million it is hoping for this year. Chile, Spain, Belgium and Italy have contributed, the AP reported. The Yasuni National Park is believed to hold 846 million barrels of reserves. The area is home to thousands of species of rare bird, insects and trees.

Chevron (CVX), the second-largest U.S. oil company, is currently fighting an $18 billion judgment awarded to plaintiffs by an Ecuadorean court that claims the company is responsible for pollution in Ecuador's Amazon committed by Texaco. Chevron acquired Texaco over a decade ago and currently has no operations in Ecuador.

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