South American leaders announced last week plans to build a massive natural gas pipeline through the Amazon rain forest.
Environmentalists say it could damage part of the Amazon by polluting waterways, destroying trees and creating roads that could draw ranchers, loggers and miners. They also estimate that each road cut into the rain forest causes destruction of the forest for 30 miles on each side of the road within a few years. There are also concerns about the impacts this might have on indigenous tribes.
But proponents claim the pipeline will supply the region with natural gas while lessening South America’s dependence on outside sources.
It’s "the beginning of the South American consensus," Chavez has said. "This pipeline is vital for us."