Date: April 30, 2001
Contact: David Godfrey
Phone: (352) 373-6441
With the recent ruling against off-shore oil drilling on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, the Coalition that formed against the oil drilling was getting ready to celebrate a victory. Unfortunately, Harken Oil company is now engaged in last minute maneuvers to pressure the out-going Minister of the Environment and Energy to allow drilling to proceed. We need your help one more time to keep the pressure on the Costa Rican government!
On February 28th, after months of pressure from a coalition of environmental organizations (including STC), indigenous groups, community members, scientists and business owners, the National Technical Environmental Secretariat (SETENA) of Costa Rica’s Ministry of the Environment and Energy unanimously rejected the Environmental Impact Assessment presented by the Harken Energy Corporation of Texas. An acceptable Environmental Assessment was required to obtain permission to drill for oil off the country’s Caribbean coast.
SETENA’s unanimous decision by the seven plenary commission members to reject the EIA as the project was deemed “not environmentally viable.” The justification for the ruling included the potential negative impacts drilling would have on the area’s globally important sea turtle populations and turtle related tourism.
Costa Rica’s recently elected president, Abel Pacheco, stated his opposition to off-shore oil development. Since the Pacheco administration does not take over until mid- May, Harken is now applying pressure to the current Minister of the Environment to approve the drilling license before she leaves office.
Please urge the Costa Rican government to stand firm against the U.S. oil companies’ last-minute appeals to drill off the coast of one of the most important nesting beaches in the Western Hemisphere! Let the Costa Rican Environment Minister know that the world is watching as she decides between protecting Costa Rica’s Caribbean marine resources or succumbing to U.S. corporate pressure.
Please send a fax or e-mail by May 3rd, 2002 to:
Lic. Elizabeth Odio Benito
Ministra de Ambiente y Energia
Zapote de San Jose
You can also fax:
Dr. Miguel Angel Rodriguez
Presidente de la Republica
Humberto Cerdas, Secretario General SETENA
Note: If dialing from the U.S. you need to first dial 011-then the full number listed.
Thanks for your help on this issue!