US Capital Energy has been conducting seismic testing in a national park in the south. Several NGOs have voiced their opposition to the licensed granted to the company for testing in the Sarstoon Temash National Park. Recently, testing resumed and the Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy, BELPO and the Association of Protected Areas Management Organization (APAMO) have called for a moratorium on Capital Energy’s activity in the park. The Sarstoon-Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) has been monitoring US Capital Energy’s exploits in the area and according to SATIIM’s Executive Director, the impact is already visible and it is also opening paths for illegal Guatemalan loggers.
Greg Ch’oc, Executive Director, SATIIM
“Currently US Capital Energy is conducting seismic surveying inside the park and outside the park. We have been monitoring; first to show that they are in compliance and also trying to determine the impact that the seismic trails that they are cutting from the Belize border and Guatemala side and near the Sarstoon River that comes into the park.”
“How concerned are you of what’s happening? Is this going back against on any promises made?”
“What is extremely of concern to us is the impact that the seismic trails that the company is cutting is having on the park. We have identified that illegal logging by Guatemalans who use the trail to access timber resource in the park have intensified. We have been documenting that. It raises concern because it is extremely difficult terrain and it is extremely expensive to man the border in that area on a 24/7.”
“So there are additional problems being caused by US Capital Energy in the area. Do they have a social responsibility to the effect they are having?”
“I would like to think they have a responsibility. I would urge the government to make US capital energy to pay for the monitoring of these trails so that we can avoid having the Guatemalan poachers use the trails to access the resources of the park.”
“What different types of species are they extracting from the area?”
“We identified, rosewood, some mahogany, emory, about three species of timber that are being harvested at this time.”
According to some reports, vegetation has been cleared in Sunday Wood Village and an area in Crique Sarco for seismic testing.