Costa Rican bill would strengthen ban on drilling

Costa Rica

Past oil drilling plans have targeted land and offshore areas along Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. (Photo courtesy of Costa Rican Presidency)

Two bills in Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly have rekindled a decades-old debate about extractive industries in a nation that prides itself on its green image worldwide. The ruling center-left Citizens’ Action Party (PAC) is pushing for approval of a bill that would completely ban oil and gas exploration and production both on land and at sea. It would do so by enshrining in law an oil drilling moratorium decreed in 2002 by then-President Abel Pacheco, and extend the prohibition to gas production. However, a second bill on the Assembly’s agenda would allow small and medium-scale surface mining. Succeeding governments have all extended the oil-drilling moratorium through their terms. President Carlos Alvarado, who took office in 2018, prolonged it to 2050. But a legislative measure was urged because it would be more difficult for a future government to reverse. The bill to ban oil and gas... [Log in to read more]

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