Belize considers relaxation of offshore drilling regulations

San Francisco: Belize’s government has caused consternation among conservationists and the marine biology community by saying it is considering loosening offshore drilling regulations so that almost its whole coast would be open to exploration.

The Ministry of Energy has made public the proposal, which is still in its draft stage. Belize is a small Central American nation, formerly called British Honduras, which boasts an abundance of marine species and diverse ecosystems in its waters.

Environmentalists say such an opening up to offshore drilling on its Caribbean Sea coastline would be a serious threat to crucial reefs and fisheries. The world’s second biggest reef is mostly in these waters. And so is the Great Blue Hole, a world-famous diving destination.

Belize currently has a moratorium on offshore drilling and in the past its officials have said they would always seek feedback from concerned environmental groups in any such discussions.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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