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Sep 6, 2022

Audubon Society Says Belizeans Shouldn’t Absorb Environmental Cost of Development

The Belize Audubon Society was one of several environmental NGOs that endorsed a letter written to Prime Minister John Briceño on August twenty-fifth. To date, there has been no formal response to the request being made by the conservation community which is to halt all Environmental Impact Assessments currently in process, including the hosting of public consultations. That proposed moratorium should stand until the associated and relevant environmental regulations and laws are suitably amended and fully realized.  While a formal response is yet to be made, there was a public consultation held at the Biltmore last Thursday during which proponents of the Waterloo project discussed various aspects of the proposed expansion of the Port of Belize Limited, as well as the construction of a cruise tourism terminal in Port Loyola. Those undertakings are pending the approval of an Environmental Impact Assessment that has been resubmitted for review.  Earlier today, News Five spoke with Amanda Acosta, Executive Director of the Belize Audubon Society.


Amanda Acosta

Amanda Acosta, Executive Director, Belize Audubon Society

“When it comes to Waterloo, the project obviously has been a longstanding conversation. There is a need to retrofit the main vein port into the country.  There are concerns, however, in the methodology that is being proposed which is dredging. The original proposal was offshore dredging which all of us know is a big no-no. The materials that they are talking about is silt and it‘s basically that fine material, like a muddy material that basically would contaminate an smother the reef, for lack of another way of saying it. The proposal was the EIA in its original iteration was not accepted for that mere fact that offshore spoils disposal was not an acceptable solution. When you prepare your EIA, you’re supposed to mitigate the environmental damage that you’re doing. You’re not to cause another issue, so the mitigation options are to be viable options.  Offshore dumping was not seen as a viable option. The EIA prepares and the developer went in and there were also concerns about consultation. They have now gone through another iteration of which, in the opinion of us as the consortium, is not a viable option either. They are talking now about near-shore spoils disposal.  The truth of it again, is that anything within our waters is not considered acceptable.  There has to be a more viable option or, and viable depends, we mean viable for the environment, we’re not talking about cost. There is a cost of development and what you want to do and how you want to develop. It is not for the Belizean people to absorb the environmental cost. It is for the developer to come up with the best solution that provides for the environment and the people.”

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