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Jan 22, 2015

Audubon and OCEANA on Petroleum Zoning

Earlier this week, we told you about OCEANA’s feedback on the Department of Geology’s Zoning Draft Policy. OCEANA said they were not meaningfully engaged, having only received the draft on Monday. The Ministry of Energy refuted OCEANA’s statements, saying that OCEANA is wrong because the engagement process started last year and feedback from the N.G.O. community was slow in coming. Today, Belize Audubon Society’s Amanda Burgos Acosta and OCEANA’s Alyssa Carnegie were on Open Your Eyes to discuss the status of the draft polic

Alyssa Carnegie, Communications Director, Oceana Belize

“OCEANA never received the document until January nineteenth and beside that, I think the press release think does mention that the primary of the first instance in which the document was circulated was to a specific group of N.G.O.s. According to the release, they never received much feedback and then they decided to open it to a wider community, which included OCEANA. Not to sensationalize anything, there has been dialogue with our partners to see if there the document reflects any feedback or progress made on this. Unfortunately, there was none. What we did see was a zonation map that made even more of Belize accessible for oil exploration.”

 

William Neal, Host, OYE

“Is it fair that the input that has been sent back at this time has not been encapsulated at this time, even if it goes through this process, it will yield negative results as well?”

 

Amanda Burgos

Amanda Burgos, Executive Director, Belize Audubon Society

“Well that is exactly the concern. Time has been spent on both ends; preparing and attending meetings and you both want to feel a part of the process. It is not just attending the meetings and the sessions. We have had that discussion. The feeling is that we have been sending this commentary, and we have been and will be resending it for this February deadline. But it is part of the process and you want to know that we are having discussions towards a medium ground.”

 

Marleni Cuellar, Host, OYE

“What are the immediate issues that you have identified from the previous draft that you were able to see and that are still incorporated in this draft?”

 

Amanda Burgos

“One of them is from when we got on the World Heritage Endangered list. Those oil concessions had been a concern on the UNESCO part/World Heritage part. They felt that the world heritage composite site should be removed from any potential exploration and that you should create a buffer. That was one of the key points, that, to me is not reflected in this document.”

 

A number of other N.G.O.s has also been critical of the draft policy.

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