Peruvian Natural Gas Project Denied Funding

In a blow for two Texas energy companies, a huge Peruvian natural-gas project was denied funding yesterday because of concerns about the likely impact on a marine preserve, a rainforest, and indigenous people in the Amazon Basin. In a 2-to-1 vote, the U.S. Export-Import Bank rejected a bid for about $214 million in loan guarantees for the Camisea project, which would pump some 13 trillion cubic feet of gas from an Amazon rainforest and pipe it over the Andes to an export facility near a marine sanctuary off the coast of Peru. The forest is one of the most pristine and biologically diverse places on Earth, and the marine reserve is home to rare species, including Humboldt penguins and green sea turtles. “With the exception of drilling in the arctic refuge, this is the only resounding defeat for any component of the Bush energy plan that the environmental community has pulled off,” said Jon Sohn, a Friends of the Earth lobbyist who fought the plan. The two U.S. companies involved in the project, Hunt Oil and Halliburton, both have close ties to the Bush administration.