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US drives rainforest destruction by importing Amazon oil, study finds

US imports of crude oil from the Amazon are driving the destruction of some of the rainforest ecosystem’s most pristine areas and releasing copious amounts of greenhouse gases, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by environmental group Amazon Watch, found that American refineries processed 230,293 barrels of Amazon crude oil a day last year.

And California, despite its green reputation, refines an average of 170,978 barrels, or 7.2m gallons, of Amazon crude a day, with the Chevron facility in El Segundo accounting for 24% of the US total alone.

The expansion of planned oil drilling poses “one of the most serious threats” to the western region of the Amazon, with most of the oil originating from Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. While green groups have enjoyed some success in fighting the Amazon ambitions of large oil firms like Chevron, other players from countries such as China have moved in, with proposed oil and gas fields now covering 283,172 sq miles of the Amazon – an area larger than Texas.

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