MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Costa Rica's president vetos Environmental Referendum Law - Gobierno veta ley de referendos ambientales

Published by MAC on 2008-12-02

Flying in the face of popular opinion. Costa Rica's president has vetoed a law which would have
empowered citizens to carry out a referendum before the permitting of any project they consider might impair their environment.

Just a few days later, the president's own environmental commission called for a ban on open-pit mining, after protests against a proposed gold mine on the country's northern border.


President Vetos Environmental Referendum Law

By Álvero Murillo and Carlos A. Villalobos

24th November 2008

www.nacion.com

The Executive branch announced this morning that the President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Óscar Arias, has vetoed a new law which enabled the carrying out of popular consultations in opposition to projects with a possible environmental impact. This was announced the morning of November 23, by the Minister of the Presidency Rodrigo Arias, who cited conflict with the constitution and the infringement of other governmental entities which have the power to make decisions.

According to Árias, the law breached powers given to both the Executive Branch as well as the Supreme Tribunal of Elections, meriting the presidential rejection. This law, approved by 48 deputies in the last week of October as part of a package of legal "consensus" projects, enabled any citizen who felt they were affected by a project which would cause environmental impacts to their territory, to call for a referendum to approve or discard the project.

According to the law, if 10% of citizens of a locality were considered affected, the referendum could be carried out. This power of "convocation" and carrying out of the law was given to the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET). The project was the initiative of the deputy of the Amplio Frente, José Merino, who has insisted that the law will generate popular participation in the taking of important decisions. After the presidential rejection, the law will return to the legislative body, where it was initially approved, so the deputies can decide if they will respect the veto, or vote again on the law against the decision of the executive branch.


President's environment adviser calls for mining moratorium

By Leland Baxter-Neal

Tico Times

27th November 2008

The head of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias' environmental program "Peace With Nature" has asked the president to declare a moratorium on open-pit mining following protests over a gold mine near the northern border.

This comes eight months after Arias repealed a ban on open-pit metal mining decreed by former President Abel Pacheco in 2002. "Based on the recognized precautionary principle of our legislation, we urge (the president) to declare a moratorium on metallic open-pit mining until the mining code is reviewed and updated," said Pedro León, head of Peace With Nature, in a statement released yesterday.

León said his office had put together a document entitled, "Environmental Safeguard Policy for Mining in Cost Rica," provided to the president in May, that said few experiences with metallic mining in the tropics have been positive. "It is widely recognized that we have an obsolete mining code," León said.

León declined to comment directly on the case of Las Crucitas - a Canadian-owned open-pit gold mine located a few kilometers from the Río San Juan, the natural border separating Costa Rica from Nicaragua - because of a series of legal challenges currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court.


Gobierno veta ley de referendos ambientales
Consideran que invade potestades de otras entidades gubernamentales

por Álvaro Murillo y Carlos A. Villalobos

La Naction

24 Noviembre 2008

San José (Redacción). El Poder Ejecutivo anunció esta mañana que el Presidente de la República, Óscar Arias, vetó una nueva ley que facilita la realización de consultas populares para oponerse a proyectos con un posible impacto ambiental.

Así lo anunció a las 11:40 a.m. el ministro de la Presidencia, Rodrigo Arias, quien alegó razones de roces constitucionales e invasión de potestades para tomar la decisión.

Según Arias, la ley invade potestades tanto del Poder Ejecutivo como del Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones, por lo cual recibió el rechazo presidencial. Esa normativa, aprobada por 48 diputados la última semana de octubre como parte de un paquete de proyectos "de consenso" permitía que cualquier ciudadano que se sintiera afectado por algún proyecto que tuviera impacto ambiental en el territorio en que se levantaría, pudiera convocar a un referendo para aprobar o descartar el proyecto.

Según la ley, con el 10 % de los ciudadanos inscritos en el padrón de la localidad que se considerara afectada, se podía convocar al referendo. La normativa de convocatoria y realización la ley se la otorgaba al Ministerio de Ambiente, energía y Telecomunicaciones (Minaet).

El proyecto resultó de la iniciativa del diputado del Frente Amplio, José Merino, quien ha insistido en que la ley fomenta la participación de la población en la toma de decisiones trascendentales.

Tras el rechazo presidencial, la ley debe volver al plenario legislativo, en donde fue aprobada inicialmente para que los diputados decidan si ratifican el veto o resellan la ley a contrapelo de la decisión del Ejecutivo.


Tribunal confirma paralización de obras en Las Crucitas

14th November 2008

http://www.teletica.com

La Fiscalía de San Carlos logró que un Tribunal Penal frene por 2 meses no sólo la tala de árboles, sino todas las construcciones en el proyecto minero de Las Crucitas.

Inicialmente, el Juzgado consideró innecesaria la medida, pero luego reconsideró ante la apelación de la Fiscalía.

Ahora, los dueños de la mina a cielo abierto, Industrias Infinito, no podrán seguir con las obras y tendrán que paralizar por completo la tala de árboles. La Sala Cuarta tiene pendiente un pronunciamiento sobre este polémico proyecto para extraer oro, que el gobierno decretó de interés nacional.

Home | About Us | Companies | Countries | Minerals | Contact Us
© Mines and Communities 2013. Web site by Zippy Info