October 11, 2001

Women and Children Begin Blockades of Pipeline Construction Crews in
Threatened Ecuadorian Cloud Forest Reserve

Digital photos and background info available  at

(Guarumos, Ecuador) --- Early this morning, dozens of women - many
accompanied by their children - arrived in the Mindo Nambillo Cloud Forest
Reserve and began peacefully blockading construction machinery belonging to
the company Techint, a member of the OCP Consortium in charge of building
Ecuador's new heavy crude pipeline.  The protest aims to stop the clearing
of the pipeline route which began last week through this protected area.

As of 4 pm EST, an estimated 40 people were reportedly participating in the
blockade; many of them from local communities affected by the pipeline. "The
blockade has virtually stopped the crews from destroying this globally
significant cloud forest reserve," according to environmental group Acción
Ecológica who says that local activists and residents will be maintaining a
resistance camp in Los Guarumos region on the Non-Tandapaya Road,
approximately 2 hour drive from Quito.

Opposition to the construction of Ecuador's new Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline
(OCP) has captured international headlines especially in Germany, where
activists have been pressuring Germany's largest public bank, Westdeustche
Landesbank (WestLB) to pull out of the $900 million financing package it is
arranging for the project.

The pipeline consortium includes Alberta Energy, Repsol-YPF, AGIP,
Perez-Companc, Kerr-McGee and the Los Angeles based Occidental Petroleum,
already the subject of protest campaigns for their controversial oil
projects in Colombia.  For many months, environmentalists had sought to
change the pipeline route around this internationally recognized eco-tourism
destination to no avail.  Groups are opposed to the construction of the
pipeline given that the route directly impacts 11 protected areas and will
lead to the doubling of oil production from National Parks and other
protected areas in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Groups also cite ongoing environmental and public health problems with
pipeline spills in Ecuador. In May, the country's existing pipeline ruptured
due to a landslide, spilling 7,000 barrels of oil. This accident was the
14th major oil spill since 1998.  The Mindo area includes steep and unstable
slopes where there is a high risk of oil spills.

The Mindo inhabitants want to focus international attention on their stance
in defense of endangered species and globally important ecosystems.  They
urge U.S. energy users to support a more rapid transition to clean energy
alternatives given that half of the oil from the OCP pipeline will be
destined for West Coast US markets.

Press: Contacts:   In US, Janet Lloyd, Amazon Watch: 310-455-0617
                           In Ecuador, Alexandra Almeida, Acción Ecológica
011 593 22 547-516 or 527-583