Wednesday, May 27th, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: Environmentalists appear to have won a key victory with the announcement this evening that Government attorneys, Barrow and Company, have filed a notice of withdrawal of appeal Today, attorneys for the Government of Belize, Barrow & Company, filed a notice of withdrawal of appeal in the matter of Civil Appeal No. 18 of 2013: Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and Oceana in Belize; Citizens Organized for Liberty and Action and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage.
In this appeal, the Government had challenged an April 2013 decision issued by Justice Oswell Legall in favor of Oceana, COLA and the Coalition in their lawsuit challenging six Production Sharing Agreements allowing offshore oil drilling.
Government’s withdrawal, according to OCEANA Vice President Janelle Chanona, signals “…a demonstration of the Dean Barrow administration’s commitment to safeguarding the country’s marine resources. Oceana Belize is in the process of proposing language to formalize the moratorium on Production Sharing Agreements for offshore areas which would ensure the protection of our economically important marine environment and outline clear benefits to Belizeans today and for future generations.”
OCEANA says the withdrawal confirms Justice Oswell Legall’s ruling and a subsequent stay of an injunction granted pending hearing. The government, it says, has also agreed to lift the stay of that decision, for which Oceana and its co-plaintiffs will be filing an application shortly. Thus, Oceana expects that Justice Legall’s wise ruling will be fully in force in the very near future.
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