Ecuador’s national electoral council said Tuesday that opponents of new oil development in a national park in the Amazon rain forest failed to submit enough valid signatures to force a nationwide referendum. The electoral council said that only 359,761 signatures of the 756,000 that were submitted by a coalition opposed to the oil activity passed the validation process. The law required them to collect 584,000 signatures, which is equivalent to 5% of the electorate, to force a referendum on the issue. The announcement appears to be a victory for President Rafael Correa and his plans to drill for oil in an area known as the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini, or the ITT block. A portion of the block is located in the Yasuni national park, which is considered by scientists to be one of the most biologically diverse spots in the world. The president of the electoral council, Domingo […]