What you need to know about the latest oil spill in the Amazon

February 23, 2022

This is a screenshot from a video showing a burst pipeline spraying crude oil in the Ecuadorian region of the Amazon rainforest. The pipeline was carrying oil destined for California and other U.S. states:

Sixty-six percent of the oil exported from the Amazon rainforest goes to the United States, with the lion’s share (50%!) of exports going to California. Everything from airports, to delivery trucks, and gas stations run on Amazonian crude oil. But as this latest oil spill demonstrates, the price of powering the “Golden State” is high – and Indigenous communities halfway across the world are footing the bill.

As a major consumer of Amazonian oil, the state of California plays an outsized role in the destruction of this sacred rainforest.

At the end of last year, Stand.earth and our partner Amazon Watch released a damning report that painted a clear picture of the linked fates of the lungs of the planet and the Golden State. When 1 in every 9 gallons pumped in California is coming from the Amazon, it is no surprise the market demand for Amazon crude is growing.

To put a stop to these practices, we must come together to take action immediately. Will you add your name to a petition urging California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, to commit to fast-tracking the wind down of Amazon oil imports?

Since oil and gas extraction has increased in the Amazon, oil spills have become a mainstay – endangering the health and wellness of communities in the region, threatening the biodiversity, and contributing to the destruction of the rainforest.

Despite oppositions from all seven Indigenous nationalities whose territories overlap the land in question, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso plans to auction off over seven million acres of largely pristine and roadless rainforests for oil extraction projects this year.

As the impacts of climate change become more embedded in our daily lives, it is more important than ever to stand as a global collective to end fossil fuel extraction in the Amazon and beyond. The Amazon rainforest is on the edge of its tipping point and unless we secure ambitious protection for it, we could soon be seeing the rainforest transform into a savannah. That’s why in solidarity with Indigenous partners, we’re working to advance action to protect 80% of the Amazon by 2025.

The momentum to protect the Amazon is stronger than ever. And just like how the Stand community stood up against fossil fuel projects like Trans Mountain, the Coastal GasLink pipeline, and the Teck tar sands mine, we know we can resist the expansion of oil and gas drilling in the Amazon rainforest.

We must call for stronger policies to #EndAmazonCrude once and for all.