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On Wednesday, July 30, the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) was set to vote on whether to approve $75 million in direct funding and an additional $100 million in indirect funding for the Camisea Gas Project in Peru. Due to the overwhelming outpouring of public opposition to this project from around the globe, The Executive Directors of the IDB decided yesterday to postpone the crucial vote by one week, until August 6, to reconsider their decision.

Background Information:

The Camisea Gas Project in Perus Lower Urubamba Valley is a concerted effort to exploit gas fields deep in the Peruvian Amazon, in the heart of territory belonging to uncontacted indigenous tribes. The project has been the source of struggle between the area's indigenous communities, international NGO's, and the oil and gas consortium and financial institutions behind the project. This project is so controversial that even Shell pulled out in the late 1990s. Citigroup severed its ties with the consortium early this year and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has chosen to pass on the project. The struggle to save the pristine Lower Urubamba region from destruction has involved tens of thousands of people and efforts at every level of decision making including:

Lobbying Congressional members to cut funding to the Export-Import bank until the project is stopped (this is your tax dollars paying for destruction)

Petitioning the companies involved directly

Flying the local indigenous community leaders to Italy to meet with key members of the Inter American Development Bank and present their case against the project

Countless demonstrations, protests, and actions in support of these communities and the forest

Why have all of these efforts to stop this project fallen on deaf ears?

On the eve of Wednesdays scheduled vote to secure necessary loan guarantees from the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), the Washington Post reported that the Bush Administration is putting pressure on these agencies to approve the loan guarantees to benefit his cronies and contributors.

The CEO of a key consortium member, Hunt Oil, is a top contributor to the Bush re-election campaign, and Dick Cheney's favorite corporate charity, Halliburton, is expected to get the lucrative contract to process the gas extraction from Camisea. Yet again, we as taxpayers are being forced to subsidize the corporate welfare of the Bush administration's cronies

Independent assessments have shown this region to be one of the last great areas of pristine rainforest left on Earth. As if that were not reason enough to pause, three of the four well sites of this project are located in a formal reserve for indigenous peoples who have been living independently for millennia, uncontacted by the outside world. Apparently, no price is too high for the Bush Administration to facilitate the reckless profiteering of its corporate benefactors at the expense of the environment and human rights.
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