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Dec 2, 2015

President Geovanni Brackett Says Offshore Drilling Ban is a Good Start

And then it was offshore drilling, or rather the ban on offshore drilling announced by government on Tuesday. Brackett told News Five that while the government and COLA rarely agree, he can only say that the move to designate areas which are banned to offshore drilling is, in his words, an excellent start to a complete ban.

 

Geovanni Brackett, President, COLA

Geovanni Brackett

“We have fought a very long fight along with our partners in the Coalition to Save Our National heritage. You know this is like a baby for COLA, having been the founding member to advocate on this issue. We feel very pleased. Moving forward though, in terms of the work in its entirety and its completion, there are a lot of things to be done nevertheless. We’ve always advocated that the laws within Belize should be separated just like in the US where there is the Department of the Interior that deals solely with offshore drilling and there’s another department that deals with onshore. The reason for that is you’re dealing with two different ecological systems and you can’t put an umbrella law that deals with onshore drilling. It’s very different when you’re drilling for oil and Spanish Lookout or drilling for oil in the Port Honduras Marine Reserve. Which brings me to another issue – the two marine reserves that have been excluded in this ban should be included because they wouldn’t have been reserves if they were not sensitive ecological systems. It will be left to the management dealing with those reserve areas to further advocate. I think what we have done in the beginning, the very beginning in January 2010 at COLA is that we helped push the environmental NGOs by providing them with the documents necessary to know that this entire country was blocked off. It is the responsibility of these NGOs now to further the advocacy within their particular areas. They have the resources and they have the funding. And so while we are happy that we have an excellent start, we would like to see further work. We want to applaud the Prime Minister on this particular move. It is only fitting because it is not a contentious move and it is one that we welcome.”

 

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