Government halts project’s permits

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Environmental authorities halted the permits to develop a controversial new pineapple plantation in the Osa canton in the southeast part of the country..

The local branch of Fresh del Monte international fruit company had been granted the permit in December 2016, just 27 days after the request was filed. The plantation field would have been located very close to an archaeological heritage monument under the protection of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Inside the project area, there are also wetlands that are protected under the Ramsar international agreements.

According to the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energia, all members of the environmental secretary’s council voted to stop any further action in the place until new studies are carried out.

In their agreement, the council asked the secretary to partner with the required authorities to fully protect the wetlands. It also establishes that Museo Nacional authorities should carry a full archaeological onsite inspection and determine if the plantation is viable from a heritage perspective.

The above are usual requirements to any company who develops agricultural projects in the country. But in the case of this particular one, no field inspections took place neither for archaeological nor environmental purposes.

In fact, the permit skipped the inspections based on photographs provided by the company representatives, as A.M. Costa Rica reported last week.

The measure seems to arrive after much pressure from several organizations. On Monday, Bloque Verde, one of the countries biggest environmental organizations held a massive rally in San José to protest against this same project.

That same day the Ambiente y Energía Ministry ordered a detailed review of the case, which began right way. Three days later the project has been halted.

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