“Belize’s Oil: Doing It Right”: Indpendent Oil Expert’s Report Released by the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage

Belize City, Belize, Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - - The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage today, Tuesday, September 13, released the final report from independent oil expert, Rick Steiner on “Belize’s Oil: Doing it Right.”

In the 25-page report, Steiner makes key recommendations including:

  • implementing of American Petroleum Industry (API) and American Association of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standards for the petroleum industry
  • amending the Environmental Protection Act to require an EIA for seismic exploration
  • mandating the development of risk assessment for each oil development project
  • expediting the development of a comprehensive National Oil Spill Contingency Plan and,
  • improving transparency and accountability through improved public oversight.

One of the major findings in Steiner’s report is that “oil exploration has occurred across Belize without a comprehensive nationwide zoning/spatial planning.” The Coalition notes that Government has made a positive move in addressing this particular issue and has embarked on preliminary steps towards to develop a petroleum planning framework. However, the framework as it stands requires further work to ensure that it integrates existing sustainable development plans and takes into consideration resource use and existing industries and sensitive ecosystems.

The entire report can be downloaded from the Coalition’s website at www.belizecoalition.org.

Rick Steiner is an independent oil analyst who provided voluntary technical assistance to the Coalition earlier this year. He conducted a rapid environmental assessment as it relates to potential impacts from the petroleum industry as well as reviewing Belize’s National Oil Spill Contingency Plan. During his technical mission, Mr. Steiner made a courtesy call to the Prime Minister and met with the Director of Geology and Petroleum and the Chief Environmental Officer.

The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage has forwarded the recommendations to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment as well as relevant technical personnel.

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The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage protects our natural heritage by serving as a channel for the voice of the people through advocacy, education, research and actions, which promote the best interest of Belize and its people.