Bonefish, permit, and tarpon depend on healthy marine ecosystems to survive. Recently , a coalition of Belizean groups won a groundbreaking victory protecting critical marine ecosystems, including the Belize Barrier Reef and the Laughing Bird Caye National Park, from reckless oil development. A judge handed down a decision declaring six offshore oil contracts null and void.
The reason? In 2004 and 2007, the Belizean government issued contracts to oil companies without requiring Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). The judge found that "allowing oil exploration before any assessment of its effects on the environment is not only irresponsible, but reckless, especially in a situation where Belize may not be fully capable of handling effectively an oil spill."
In addition, the judge found that the government violated the Petroleum Act by awarding the contracts without requiring the oil companies to demonstrate their ability to successfully carry out the contracts.
We are thrilled to be a member of the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, an alliance of 40 organizations that was critical to this victory.
We joined the Coalition because we believe that a ban on offshore drilling in Belize waters is the only way to protect the precious reef and flat-waters, and at the same time preserve permit, bonefish and tarpon habitats. Rarely has an issue mobilized so many people and groups all over the country, united in the desire to ensure that Belize's most precious resources - our reefs, mangroves, sea grass beds and unique terrestrial ecosystems - are protected.
We will build on the momentum of this victory and will seek a ban on all offshore drilling and drilling in protected areas. Learn how you can help our efforts here.