Ecological Groups Ask Belize
Stop Underwater Oil Exploration
BELMOPAN - Several Belize organizations have
demanded the government to stop oil
exploration in national waters for the
potential danger it entails to its coral
reef, the world''s second largest.
Groups such as Healthy Reef, the Association
of Administrative Organizations of Protected
Areas and Citizens sent a letter to Prime
Minister Dean Barrow rejecting exploration
and extraction along the country‚�÷s coasts.
The activists maintain the underwater oil
extraction also threatens coastal
populations and fishing industries and
tourism, the main supplier of foreign
currency for the local economy.
They also insist that this work could cause
ecological disasters like in the Gulf of
Mexico in which millions of barrels of crude
spill out to the surface after an explosion
and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon rig.
The concern of these organizations
corresponds to increased concession granted
to foreign companies for oil extraction in
protected areas such as the great coral reef
that was declared Heritage of Humanity by
UNESCO in 2004.
Now there are 17 companies from different
countries exploring about 13,000 square
kilometers of Belize land and sea in an area
where it is believed there is a strong
potential for oil.
However, the prime ministers publicly
declared that he will not suspend
perforation of oil in the ocean.