Around the Region

Supporters of Costa Rican EV bill fend off hybrid amendment

A Costa Rican legislative committee has rejected attempts to include non-plug-in hybrids to a bill that would create tax incentives for electric vehicles. The push to add traditional hybrids—cars that are powered by gasoline and electric engines but cannot be plugged in to charge their batteries—was led primarily by Costa Rica’s sole Toyota importer, Purdy Motors, and stalled debate for months. The tax legislation, entitled Bill to Promote the Use of Electric Vehicles in Costa Rica, seeks to promote electric transportation by eliminating sales, customs and selective consumption taxes on electric and plug-in hybrid cars. Introduced by lawmakers Marcela Guerrero and Franklin Corella from the ruling Citizen Action Party, the bill seeks to increase electric-powered transport in Costa Rica...

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In Mexico, wintering monarch numbers show large decline

The population of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) wintering in Mexico’s forested highlands fell by more than a quarter this winter, seeming to bear out concerns that millions of butterflies had died during an unusually severe winter storm in Mexico in March 2016. According to a survey led by the World Wildlife Fund, the area occupied by monarchs roosting in the oyamel forests of Michoacán and Mexico State fell this winter to 2.91 hectares from 4.01 hectares the previous winter. The lower count is a reminder of how fragile the monarch population remains, despite rebounding last year from a level so low that scientists and activists feared the butterfly was on the verge of extinction. During the winter of 2013-14, the overwintering population covered only 0.7...

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Big Corona promotion party draws fine in Uruguay for beach damage

Tension between tourism and conservation surfaced recently in the Uruguayan resort city of Punta del Este when the country’s National Environment Directorate (Dinama) levied a US$60,000 fine on a company that organized a party to promote Corona beer. The Uruguayan company, Pulmer, was fined for damage that groundwork and staging of the event allegedly did to a 9,000-square-meter (2.2-acre) area of dunes and beach in front of a coastal spa. Pulmer has appealed the fine on grounds it was disproportionate to any impacts caused by the Corona Sunset Party, which featured a DJ and dance music and drew 3,500 people. But Jorge Rucks, Uruguay’s Vice Minister of Environment and formerly the head of Dinama, which is charged with environmental enforcement, called...

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