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Drilling moratorium endangered in Ecuador

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By The Associated Press
Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, 10:00 p.m.
 

QUITO, Ecuador — President Rafael Correa said on Thursday that he has abandoned a unique and ambitious plan to persuade rich countries to pay Ecuador not to drill for oil in a pristine Amazon rain forest preserve.

Environmentalists had hailed the initiative when Correa first proposed it in 2007, saying he was setting a precedent in the fight against global warming by lowering the high cost to poor countries of preserving the environment.

“The world has failed us,” Correa said in a nationally televised speech.

He said the global recession was in part responsible, but he chiefly blamed “the great hypocrisy” of nations that emit most of the world's greenhouse gases.

“It was not charity that we sought from the international community, but co-responsibility in the face of climate change.”

Correa had sought $3.6 billion in contributions to maintain a moratorium on drilling in the remote Yasuni National Park, which was declared a biosphere reserve by the United Nations in 1989.

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