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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 19, 2002
6:01 PM
CONTACT:  Amazon Watch
Atossa Soltani (310) 456 9158 or on site cell (202) 256 9795
Lucy Braham (510) 419 0617 or cellular (310) 420 8245
Julia Butterfly Brings the Struggle Against Oil Destruction from Quito to LA
Press Conference at Occidental Petroleum’s LA Headquarters
 
LOS ANGELES - July 19 - Vowing her continued commitment to the struggle against Ecuador’s OCP oil pipeline, Julia Butterfly Hill will speak to the press today at 10.30 am outside the LA offices of Occidental Petroleum located at Wilshire and Westwood Blvds. Julia was arrested and jailed along with seven Ecuadorians outside Occidental Petroleum (OXY)’s Quito offices on Tuesday, during a peaceful protest against Ecuador’s new OCP pipeline. Julia Butterfly arrived in Los Angeles last night after being forcibly deported from Ecuador presumably so that the government could avoid the international attention her scheduled court appearance would have generated on the controversial OCP project. The other seven protesters were all released yesterday following their court appearance. All charges were dropped.

WHAT: Press conference
WHEN: TODAY, Friday 10.30 am
WHERE: Outside Occidental Petroleum’s headquarters, 10889 Wilshire Boulevard, at Westwood

At the Tuesday protest in Quito where Ms. Hill was arrested, 50 community members from Mindo, Lago Agrio, Esmeraldas and Shushufindi, who are adversely affected by the new pipeline or by Oxy’s operations, rallied outside the offices of Oxy to demand an end to the escalating destruction of their lands. Five representatives from the affected communities asked for a meeting with Oxy. Oxy refused only agreeing to meet with Julia Butterfly. Oxy’s offices were shut down for over two hours by the rally, and demonstrators disrupted traffic on a nearby Quito thoroughfare, clamoring for their case to be heard. Eventually, Oxy met with Amazon Watch and five representatives from affected communities.

As she was brutally dragged by six immigration police officers through the Quito airport yesterday morning, peacefully resisting deportation until the end, Julia called out to bystanders:

“I’m being deported against my will. I’m being deported is because I’ve lent my solidarity to the forests of Ecuador and the communities defending their lands and their basic human rights.”

Ms. Hill, best known for her 738 day tree-sit 200 feet atop a 1000-year old threatened California old-growth redwood tree arrived in Ecuador July 9, joining the national struggle to resist the OCP pipeline. On Monday she accompanied Mindo community members to bear witness to OCP’s construction site in the Mindo Nambillo Cloudforest Reserve. Construction has now trespassed 200 meters inside Mindo community-owned property.

The OCP pipeline has been mired in controversy since its inception, with hundreds of protests over the last few months along its route, which crosses fragile ecosystems and affects 11 protected areas. Los Angeles-based Oxy is a key member of the OCP consortium, and is planning significant expansion of its Ecuador operations in pristine Amazon ecosystems, in expectation of the pipeline’s completion.

The majority of Amazon crude that will flow through the pipeline is destined for US West Coast markets. The OCP Consortium includes: Alberta Energy (Canada), Occidental Petroleum (OXY- USA), AGIP (Italy), Repsol-YPF (Spain), Perez Companc (Argentina), and Techint (Argentina). German bank WestLB is lead financer of the project and JP Morgan Chase is the project’s financial advisor.

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