Ecuador’s government has issued an environmental permit for oil drilling in the pristine Amazon reserve that President Rafael Correa initially offered to exempt from exploration if rich countries would pay his government.

Mr. Correa abandoned that effort last year due to insufficient interest and has spurned pleas by environmentalists to spare the Yasuni reserve.

Earlier this month, Ecuador’s electoral council declared invalid a petition drive seeking to prevent drilling in the 6,500-square-mile Amazon reserve.

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