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Environmental Threats
and Challenges

Oil Drilling

PCSD, along with the Placencia Village Council, is very concerned that oil exploration and drilling in the Big Creek area, as proposed by Treaty Oil, will compromise the water supply for Big Creek, Placencia, Seine Bight and Independence/Mango Creek. 

No one knows much about the source of water here, other than that it is very pure at the source.  But, we don't know where it comes from, how much we have, how much we can safely use, or how close our water source is to potential oil deposits.

Therefore, we do not believe exploratory oil drilling in this area is safe until the capture zone for the aquifer that supplies the drinking water for Placencia, Seine Bight, Mango Creek/Independence and Big Creek has been delineated, and that (i) the aquifer be identified and characterized, including permeability, thickness and extent, (ii) the slope of the water table and the direction in which the groundwater moves naturally be determined, and (iii) the refresh rate for the aquifer be calculated.

PCSD is also a member of the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, which is dedicated to stopping oil drilling the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Belize.  Following is the Coalition's Position Statement, which PCSD supports.

 

Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage
Position Statement
Urgent action needed
TO PROTECT Our Barrier Reef Reserve System and our Protected Areas from Oil Exploration and Drilling
June 8, 2010
Considering that there has been complete parceling out of the entire country of Belize, except for the Maya Mountains, for oil exploration and drilling, it has become necessary for members of civil society to join forces and unite under one Coalition to be able to approach the Government on behalf of the people of Belize.

The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage is to be a conduit of the voice of the masses and will at all times have the best interest of Belize and its people at heart. All members have pledged to act without reservation to protect our people and their rights to our natural heritage.

The members of the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage jointly call on the Government of Belize to:

A. Adopt a resolution declaring a BAN on OFFSHORE oil exploration and drilling in our Belizean waters;

B. Adopt a resolution declaring a BAN on oil exploration and drilling in ALL our PROTECTED AREAS;

C. Initiate an open and transparent process to review and strengthen the existing legislations (e.g. Petroleum Act, EIA Regulations and other relevant Acts and Regulations) to regulate oil exploration and drilling in Belize;

D. Develop a comprehensive Petroleum Policy and Plan along with an Energy Plan for Belize

E. Put in place the necessary measures to effectively monitor and regulate the oil industry in Belize

F. Conduct meaningful consultation with the people of Belize prior to the engagement in agreements for oil exploration and drilling in Belize

The Coalition is therefore engaging the larger public to participate in the charting of the course that this country will take as it relates to the future of the oil industry of Belize.

As members of civil society the Coalition brings to light the following concerns:

1. That oil exploration and drilling is a matter of national interest to the people of Belize and as such the people of this nation have not been consulted or involved in this critical national issue;

2. That there is no area in our waters or land, except for the Maya Mountains, spared from oil exploration and drilling in this country;

3. That the integrity of our Belize Barrier Reef System, a World Heritage Site, is being compromised and exposed to an additional pressure and threat;

4. That oil companies are not subjected to the requirements that other businesses and the people of Belize have to abide by within protected areas;

5. That the legal framework in place is not suitable to ensure public safety in the event that there is ever an accident or oil spill;

6. That there is no legal framework in place to ensure that the Belizean public, as a class, have a quick and direct access to the legal system without waiting for an action by the Attorney General;

7. That the monies already being contributed to the economy through tourism and fisheries are being taken for granted when addressing the economic development of Belize through oil development;

8. That the lifestyle and cultural rights of our people to the use and enjoyment of our marine resources and protected areas is being threatened;

9. That there is no transparency and accountability in the way Government awards concessions and enters into power sharing agreements with oil companies; and

10. That the production sharing agreements are not in the best interest of the people of Belize.

The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage, an alliance of over 25 organizations, representing the people of Belize is calling for a BAN on oil exploration and drilling offshore and in all protected areas.

We therefore call on ALL Belizeans to support this cause which strikes at the ownership of our heritage. Our livelihoods and lifestyle will be threatened if WE allow oil exploration and drilling in offshore and protected areas.


Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable Development

General Delivery
Placencia, Belize
info@pcsdbelize.org
www.pcsdbelize.org
011-501-610-4718