$1 billion Moín container terminal gets environmental approval

The nation’s environmental agency has given a green light to the $1 billion container terminal proposed for Moín.

The decision is far from final because opponents of the terminal are expected to challenge the decision and eventually carry the case once again through the country’s courts.

The decision came from the Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental. APM Terminals Moín S.A., the local subsidiary of a Dutch firm, plans to build the project as a concession. Eventually the terminal will revert to government management.

The job involves building an artificial island in the harbor, constructing protective breakwaters and dredging a channel for container ships.

The project is favored by the government, but workers on the public docks and some environmental activists oppose it. The dock workers fear the competition of a modern container handling facility.  Some

This is a rendering of how the completed stage two of the terminal will appear.

This is a rendering of how the completed stage two of the terminal will appear.

of the environmentalists have opposed nearly every new project.

The Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental said there were more than 100 deficiencies in the environmental impact statement presented earlier. The approval was of a rewrite.

The consortium Van Oord/BAM International said that it already had been contracted to build stage two of the project. This Dutch firm estimates that this will take three years.  A world-class sustainable container terminal that modernizes the port system to help Costa Rica achieve its economic ambitions, the firm said on its Web page.

In challenging the decision, the lawyers for the dock workers union will have to seek administrative remedies first. The central government shuts down most offices for Christmas on Friday, so there will be no action on this until January. However, the Sala IV constitutional court is open 24 hours a day even over vacations, if opponents choose that route.

The project already has been the object of a handful of appeals in the nation’s courts.

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