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DOE holds oil spill consultation

Posted: Monday, February 5, 2018. 4:10 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: The Department of the Environment (DOE) is hosting a two-day consultation at the Belize Biltmore Plaza this week, in an effort to finalize Belize’s National Oil Spill Contingency Plan.

The DOE gathered regulatory agencies, private sector companies and non-governmental organizations to the consultations, which began today and will end tomorrow. At the consultations, attendees will discuss various aspects of the contingency plan such as established protocols in the event of an oil spill, the role of each party during the response, and established timelines for training and updates to the plan.

Consultation facilitator Elliot Taylor, principal and senior scientist for Polaris Applied Sciences, explained that the consultation forms a part of a process which began in September 2017, when DOE brought in his company to meet with stakeholders and get information from them. Taylor said that some parties still need to submit information; however, the plan itself is largely finished and is now being finalized. He noted that participants would have two weeks from the end of the consultation to review the plan and submit any comments.

After receiving that feedback, Polaris will refine the finished plan over the next month and a half, and present it to the DOE.

Taylor also said that the recently passed moratorium on offshore oil exploration relieves authorities of having to make up a plan to address spills in that area.

“When you’re making a plan, one of the things you have to look at is where your spills are coming from. Storage tanks and shipping routes are potential sources. If you have a moratorium on offshore drilling, then that’s not a source anymore,” Taylor said.

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