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WWF Says Peru Pipeline Vote Sets Terrible Precedent; Calls US Role Disappointing

WASHINGTON - World Wildlife Fund-U.S. President Kathryn S. Fuller issued the following statement Wednesday following the vote by directors of the InterAmerican Development Bank to approve $300 million in funding for Peru's controversial Camisea pipeline project.

"This is a sad day for the environment, for the people of Peru, and for everyone who cares about the health of our planet.

"Rejection of IADB funding could have forced pipeline supporters back to the negotiating table to fix the plan's serious ecological flaws. Instead the IADB wrapped the plan in a cloak of vague promises, ignored the serious risks and declared it worthy of taxpayer funding. They've set a terrible precedent.

"Economic development in Peru and around the world can be accomplished without sacrificing natural treasures, but today's decision makes that a lot harder to do. Indeed, the outcome of this vote is not only inconsistent with the policies of more responsible lending institutions, such as the U.S. Export-Import Bank, it is a throwback to the times before we came to appreciate the inextricable link between economic development and a healthy environment.

"With Camisea, the IADB had the opportunity to reinforce the message sent earlier by the Ex-Im Bank, which rejected the project on environmental grounds. Instead, it sent a message that the environment doesn't matter.

"Even though the U.S. representative to IADB abstained from this vote, the lack of U.S. leadership on this issue is also deeply disappointing. The U.S. should have voted against the project as currently designed and it could have exerted more influence to secure a different outcome.

"While the challenge will be greater now, WWF will continue to work closely, with both the Peruvian government and our partners in Peruvian civil society, to mitigate the threats this project poses to Peru's only marine reserve."