A consortium of transnational companies led by Occidental Petroleum, Alberta Energy and Chase Manhattan Bank is proposing to build an oil pipeline through pristine cloud forests (high-altitude rainforests) in Ecuador. Two routes have been proposed and approved by the Ecuadorian Government to pump heavy crude oil from the Amazon to Ecuador’s Pacific coast. The northern route is estimated to cost $594 million and would carry up to 350,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Volcanic activity occurred along it only two years ago when Pichincha exploded causing massive destruction. The southern route follows the path of an existing pipeline and passes primarily through previously deforested areas, thus causing far less environmental impact. A new pipeline is important for the economic development of Ecuador, but the same objectives can be met with far less environmental damage if the right route is chosen and proper safeguards are established from the very outset.