Friday, December 9, 2011

BRIBES will let you explore and drill for oil ANYWHERE IN BELIZE!

PAY THE POLITICIANS A BRIBE AND YOU CAN DRILL FOR OIL ANYWHERE YOU WANT! ALL the foo foraah you hear, is just blowing smoke in your eyes.

Author: Adele O. Trapp -

Government geologist Michelle Alvarez has drafted a proposal for the zoning of Belizean territory for petroleum exploration, which suggests that the Maya Mountain Massif and the Corozal Bay area should be off-limit, and which would require stakeholder consultation for petroleum exploration in many parts of the areas now parceled out in roughly 20 concessions.

On the other hand, much of offshore Belize would be exploitable, with only a portion of the waters in the south of Belize and extreme north of Belize under an oil exploration ban.

The development of the zoning scheme is in line with a commitment by Prime Minister Dean Barrow to introduce zoning for the purposes of petroleum exploration activities.

Putting the Maya Mountain Massif off-limit would remove 14 protected areas from risks associated with oil exploration. Among them are the Bladen Nature Reserve, which has the highest level of protective status and is partly managed by the Ya’axche Conservation Trust; the Caracol Archaeological Reserve, managed by the Institute of Archaeology; the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, co-managed by the Belize Audubon Society (BAS); Noj Kaax Meen Elijio Panti National Park; the Chiquibul National Park, co-managed by Friends for Conservation and Development; and the Victoria Peak Natural Monument, also co-managed by BAS.

Conservationists have been calling on the Government of Belize to conduct a comprehensive study that would guide them to put a zoning system into effect—but with the view of a ban on exploration in protected areas.

The proposed zoning scheme, however, still envisions exploration in certain protected areas outside the Maya Mountain region. One such case is the Sarstoon-Tamash National Park (STNP), where US Capital Energy is currently exploring for oil.

Whereas conservationists generally see the zoning proposal as a positive step, there are concerns over whether it would truly serve to protect Belize’s natural treasures.

“Let’s keep oil exploration away from the protected areas,” said Edilberto Romero, the executive director of Programme for Belize and the chairman of the Association of Protected Areas Management Organization (APAMO), this February.

“There needs to be a certain level of characterization, so that there are areas that can be zoned as areas off-limit to oil exploration, because of the importance to the environment, because of the importance to the people of Belize. It’s not only the environment – it’s also the people.”

Whereas zone 1 areas are marked “off-limit,” zone 2, which would include Belize City, would be seasonally off-limit, and would require consent from relevant authorities and protected areas managers and major stakeholders, such as those in tourism and agriculture. That could mean that a project like US Capital being undertaken in the STNP would engage much more stakeholder participation that had been required in the past.

As for zone 3 blocks, which would include the entire Turneffe Atolls, Mullins River and Gales Point, the proposal is for consent to be required from both government and protected areas managers.

Zone 4, which includes the nation’s capital Belmopan, would be free for exploration and development of the petroleum industry within the context of the oversight mechanisms that would be in place.

The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage still maintains its stance that there should be NO petroleum exploration offshore Belize and inside protected areas.

We also note that the Barrier Reef, which is a World Heritage Site, is within zones proposed for petroleum exploration and production.
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