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Feb 5, 2018

Moratorium removes major worry

In the time period between the first and second consultations on the plan, the Petroleum Operations (Maritime Zone Moratorium) Act, 2017, was passed by the House of Representatives on December eighth and the Senate five days later. The Governor General made the formal enactment on December twenty-ninth. The new law imposes an indefinite moratorium on any kind of petroleum operation within the maritime corridor, particularly around the Barrier Reef and in and near protected areas. Theoretically, that should help remove one worry regarding the source of an oil spill, but consultant Doctor Elliott Taylor says Belize is not out of the woods yet and must be prepared for all contingencies.

 

Dr. Elliott Taylor, Consultant

Dr. Elliott Taylor

“When you develop a plan one of the first things you need to do is understand where your spill risks are – where are the locations that might contribute to spills. So if you’re looking at oil spills and you have onshore production, then that’s a potential source. If you have storage tanks, those are potential sources. If you have shipping traffic on shipping routes, those are potential sources. If you have a moratorium on offshore drilling, that’s not a source anymore. So the big aspect of making that decision is that those risks are no longer included as part of the spill plan because they’re not there. This plan does recognize potential spills off-shore because there are ships, traffic going in and out of port, there’s movement of fuel and crude oil into the offshore and coming into the country, so there are potential offshore spill sources, but you don’t have a production source offshore.”

 

The consultation continues through Tuesday, followed a draft review period of two weeks and final adoption within the next two months.

 

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