Pushback in Panama against island oil terminal


Panama’s Boná Island is known for its rich population of nesting seabirds. (Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Archives)

In a surprise move, Panamanian authorities have reversed the approval of a lease for a US$335 million oil terminal on Boná Island, a largely pristine, 75-hectare (185-acre) haven for thousands of nesting shorebirds 28 nautical miles off the Pacific end of the Panama Canal. The project seemed to have cleared a major hurdle on April 3, when the National Economic Board (CENA), a body of Panama’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, said it had authorized a 20-year lease for the project. The lease would allow Bona Pacific Corp. (BPC) of Panama to build and operate the tanker terminal on 34 hectares (84 acres) of Boná Island. But in the face of broad criticism, including a rebuke from Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, CENA reversed course. On April 26, the board said on its website that it had voted to leave its earlier decision “without effect,” adding... [Log in to read more]

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