Last update:

Comuna of Agua Blanca against the poly-oil pipe, Ecuador.


In 1990 the Ecuadorian government, through its oil company PETROECUADOR, announced its intention to construct a pipeline that had to traverse the Machalilla National Park (MNP) on the Ecuadorian coast, despite it being illegal. The project ignited strong opposition from one of the Comunas within the MNP, named Agua Blanca. The inhabitants of this Comuna, whose presence in the area preceds the declaration of the area as a national park (1979), have traditionally based their subsistence in the exploitation of the forest resources of the area. With the demarcation as a national park, these activities were forbidden. This obliged them to adopt more sustainable economic practices such as eco-tourism. Upon great efforts Agua Blanca managed to consolidate the touristic activity as one of their main sources of income. Thus, they considered the pipeline project as a threat to this. Above all, they feared that the trajectory of the pipeline would destroy diverse pre-columbine archaeological remains, which were key to their touristic activity. In this sense, the Communa tried to have a bearing on the final tracing of the pipeline in order to mitigate potential damages.

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Comuna of Agua Blanca against the poly-oil pipe, Ecuador.
State or province:Manab
Location of conflict:Agua Blanca
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:
Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1990
Company names or state enterprises:Petroecuador from Ecuador
Relevant government actors:The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, The Ecuadorian National Institute for Forests, Nature and Wildlife (currently is the Ministry of Environment)., National Congress Environment Commission
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Fundacion Natura (Guayaquil), Voluntariado Aleman
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Forms of mobilization:Development of alternative proposals
Objections to the EIA
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Soil contamination, Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Other socio-economic impactsLoss of archaeological sites
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Negotiated alternative solution
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The Commune managed to save 8 archaeological sites that would have been destroyed. However, the poly-oil pipe crosses the NPM with oil and the risks that entails.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Ley Forestal y Conservacion de areas Silvestres (Forestry and Conservation of Natural Areas and Wildlife Law)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Varea, Anamara, Carmen Barrera, Ana mara Maldonado, Lourdes Endara, Byron real, Victoria Reyes, Guillermo Robalino. 1997. Desarrollo Eco-ilgico. Conflictos socioambientales desde la selva hasta el mar. CEDEP/Abya-Yala

Meta information
Contributor:Sara Latorre
Last update08/04/2014
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.