WASHINGTON – Venezuela's oil company CITGO marked Earth Day Wednesday by formally donating an island it owns to the US state of New Jersey for a nature preserve, Venezuelan authorities said.
Petty Island, which is 214 hectares (528 acres) in the Delaware River not far from Philadelphia, was bought by Venezuela's state oil giant PDVSA in 1990.
CITGO Petroleum Corporation, a subsidiary of PDVSA "has officially transferred control of Petty's Island to the state of New Jersey for the creation of an ecological, cultural and historical preserve," Caracas' embassy here said in a statement.
"This highlights the commitment of the Venezuelan people to environmental protection and stronger bonds of friendship between the peoples of Venezuela and the United States," it added.
As such "the island's fate has been one of the most important environmental topics in New Jersey for the past three years. In fact, the governor of New Jersey offered to transform the island into an ecological preserve during the last election," the statement added.
Chavez announced the decision at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad.
The United States and Venezuela currently do not have ambassadors in their respective embassies.
They said after the summit meeting of President Barack Obama and Chavez that they would review their diplomatic relations, strained under former US president George Bush, fiercely and frequently criticized by Chavez.
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