The Yasuní National Park in Ecuador is home to one of the most diverse collections of plants and animals on the planet. But beneath this 3,800-square-mile swath of forest lies another kind of treasure: crude oil. More than 1 billion barrels of it.
Over the past 50 years, oil companies have extracted immense amounts of crude from the Amazon, causing the destruction of rainforest crucial to slowing climate change and jeopardizing the Indigenous tribes who rely on it.
Now, a state-run oil company that subcontracts its field operations to the Chinese is building a road to reach what will be a new section of wells deep inside Yasuní.
The oil extracted from Yasuní and the wider Amazon is exported around the world, but 66 percent goes to the U.S. on average and the vast majority of that to one state in particular: California, according to a new report shared exclusively with NBC News.
Read the full story at NBCNews.com.