Executive Branch Pressures Congress for a Revote

(November 25, 2008 – San José, Costa Rica)

Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly has decided to revote on three proposed law changes (16.915, 16.916, 16.417) that attempt to open up Leatherback Marine National Park to development possibilities, despite the Commission’s overwhelming 7-1 vote just two weeks ago to table the proposed changes to the park’s zoning (Oficial Congress Document). At that time, the Commission decided to derail the proposals and leave the park’s nesting beach habitat undisturbed, a habitat whose ecological integrity is critical for the survival of the leatherback sea turtle, a species in critical danger of extinction according to the UICN.

Photo: Leatherbackc sea turtle

Photo: Leatherback sea turtle

The revote is scheduled for Thursday November 27 at 1 pm and attempts to reverse the Commission’s original decision before it can be ratified and the law changes tabled. Regrettably, the revote comes as a result of pressure from the PLN party behind which President Dr. Oscar Arias has insisted the Commission’s decision be revoked, thus putting in jeopardy the ecological integrity of the hemisphere’s most important leatherback nesting beach.

“Costa Rican citizens and representatives from over 70 countries have sent petitions to the Government soliciting the park’s protection”, said Andy Bystrom Pretoma’s communications coordinator. “In addition, the Commission has decided to maintain the park’s limits, meaning that any change to the park’s zoning does not represent the majorities interests”, added Bystrom.

The National Park was declared a protected area in 1991 and written into law in 1995 with the intent to protect the leatherback sea turtle and its most important nesting beaches (Playa Grande and Playa Langosta) in the Eastern Pacific from the poaching of nests and development. However, individual and corporate interests are working in collusion with the government’s Executive Branch and have demonstrated they will stop at nothing, even reversing a previous vote and rewriting the Environmental Commission’s decisions (a supposedly independent entity), to continue development efforts under the banner of “sustainable eco-tourism”.

“This actions evidence that a few of Costa Rica’s government representatives along with their extracurricular relationships and interests take priority over the citizens and wildlife of Costa Rica”, expressed Miguel Gomez, Pretoma’s campaign coordiantor. “More than 15 years of protection and conservation for Leatherback Marine National Park could be reversed this Thursday, November 27 at the hands of the Congress’ Environmental Commission”, concluded Gomez.

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    Executive Branch Pressures Congress for a Revote (November 25, 2008 - San José, Costa Rica) Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly has decided to revote on three proposed law changes (16.915, 16.916, 16.417) that attempt to open up Leatherback Marine National Park to development possibilities, despite the Commission's overwhelming 7-1 vote just two...