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May 27, 2010

Healthy Reef Initiative says moratorium needed on offshore drilling

melanie mcfield

The prospect of offshore oil drilling has raised strong emotions in the environmental community. On Wednesday, PM Dean Barrow publically said that he wouldn’t put a stop to oil exploration. Within hours of that statement, another group, Healthy Reef Initiative, joined APAMO in opposing offshore oil exploration.  Melanie McField, a renowned marine biologist, says we can’t afford even one spill. In her opinion, there should be a moratorium on all offshore activity because along with the reef, the fishing industry and the tourism industry are at risk.  And that could shut down major economic activities.

Jose Sanchez

“Can we afford one small spill?”

Melanie McField, Marine Biologist, Healthy Reef Initiative

“Well, we definitely cannot afford the risk of the ultimate disaster like what’s happening here. That exact same thing that happened in the gulf could happen here where you have a well in deep waters that can’t stop. So that would be complete and total disaster for the reef, for the sea grass beds, for the mangrove. It basically would shutdown our country because there would be no tourism, there’d be no fishing and all the other industries that are depending on those things would be a nightmare. And it’s a real possibility. What are the odds? No one can really say but I know for one thing the odds would be higher here, given the small companies that have the concessions. You compare that to a BP and the resources that BP has and then you look at the government we have, the amount of money that government has to try to regulate these industries, the numbers of people that would actually be onsite doing the regulations, doing the oversight and you compare that to the resources the United States has and the Gulf of Mexico. We’ve compounded the risk so we have a lot more risk doing it here than they have in the Gulf and we can see you know what happens even in the Gulf.”

Jose Sanchez

“So are you of the opinion that we should ban exploration on the seabed?”

Melanie McField

“Yeah, I think we should put a moratorium right now and say we need to look at this and I don’t think we could ever come up with a way of doing it that would minimize the risk to the extent that it would be worth risking the whole barrier reef and all the livelihoods that depend on it.”

Jose Sanchez

Do you think an environmental protest is a possibility if nothing is done?

Melanie McField

“Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of people talking more on discussions on the radio, the call in and I think that really the majority of people do support either a ban or a moratorium. They’re afraid of the risk and seeing what’s happening in the Gulf and I think we should do something quick to react and if nothing happens people, they might protest.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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6 Responses for “Healthy Reef Initiative says moratorium needed on offshore drilling”

  1. Bulba Martinez says:

    Ms. McField, even me with my two-sense education know that the risk is not worth it. I would never ever subject my people or even start think about putting them through such an emotional wreck, knowing fully well that CPA via GOB has informed us and the world that, more Belizeans are POOR. Why should such an educated leader put us through such a nerve wrecking course?. As we share and voice our cencerns in our country, according the L.A. Times/USC Poll, half of California registered voters has opposed new oil drilling. Approximately 48% of those that were surveyed opposed, while 41% supported it. Ms. McField, these people are very much concern about their environment even though the U.S. have the Equipments, professional tranings, technology and resources to maybe avoid another spill. Our Prime Minister has so far refused to listen to the very people that elected him as our Leader. We da Dangriga and Punta Gorda have to worry, because GOB barely di help wi and we have to depend pah lee fishing and wa lee Tourism thing fi put food pah wi table. We wah join any protest, just mek wi know when and we wa walk or hitchhike if wi hafto. Ms. McField, I volunteer myself to be the voice of “The Forgotten South”. I want you to know that we from the South really appreciate your concern regarding the ban of oil drilling within our waters along with the assistance of APAMO who we also appreciate and respect for their effort and concerns as well. Please keep up the good work and God Bless.

  2. LoriAnna says:

    I agree with Melanie 100%. Belize cannot be compromised by this. It is a disaster waiting to happen and ruin the country for good.

  3. Elgin Martinez says:

    If you all think that the economy in Belize is bad.Try that offsore drilling and some …. happens.Then Barrow is going to deal with a real recession.


    if these professional biologist see the risk we are trying to run into, are trying to bann the offshore drilling , why will dean barrow ignore it. he’s not even aquainted with the biology risk he wants to put our jewel into. he studied law not biology so basically we see why he ignores these risks brought forward. please keep repeating these infos to him he might get it through his head later during the course of the coming month.

  5. cat dog says:

    Is it not amazing how some leaders while accusing others of being jack asses is hell bent on stepping into that off shore oil drilling dodo just to smell how really stink it is? Come on Mr. Man, do not allow these greedy coorporations to pressure you into sacrificing the pristine enviornment of the Jewell to enrich themselves for generations as Belizeans slip and slide evermore into poverty and despair. As it is regular Belizeans are not even benefiting from the Spanish Lookout oil wells. Tell me, who were you talking to when you said, ” imagine the possibilities????” Leff di ile anda di see rite deh, yer !!!!!

  6. Sasha says:

    This is exactly what Barrow is doing, he is not putting a STOP TO CRIME AND HE IS NOT PUTTING A STOP TO SUGESTION OF OIL DRILLING. It doesn’t take a ROCKET SCIENTIST to figure out the disaster that will contribute to the ENVIRONMENT/ECONOMY OF BELIZE EVEN WITHOUT AN OIL SPILL. Barrow, stop thinking aout the NICKLE/DIMES THAT YOU WOULD BE RECEIVING FROM THIS DEAL.

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