Surprise environmental permit suspension called indefensible

A presidential decree last April 23 suspended for 90 days routine permits by the Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental, the environmental agency.

The industrial sector is not happy.

President Laura Chinchilla and René Castro the minster of Ambiente y Energía, suspended the work of the agency while a commission studies a restructuring.

However, the decree did permit emergency permits, complaints, action on government applications and issuing permits for the installation of telecom facilities.

Companies that are affected are losing productivity and are in danger of ending their operations, said the Cámara de Industrias.

Many projects require a determination of environmental viability, something that the agency issues.

Martha Castillo, executive vice president of the chamber, in a press statement called the decision to suspend work for 90 days an indefensible situation.  She said the decree would cause labor chaos.

Not just industry is suspended. Permits from this agency are required for a broad range of activities, including property development.

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