The Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum hereby invites the general public to a public consultation on the Marine Multibeam and Sea Seep Survey that the Government of Belize intends to complete in the deep offshore territorial waters of Belize, through the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum and the Geology and Petroleum Department.
A multibeam survey produces bathymetric mapsor water depth maps which are essential baseline data needed for the country for navigation and scientific information. It also produces additional data such as seafloormaps which show geological features including sea mounds formed from hydrocarbon seepage which can be useful for geological analysis.
The consultation will be held on January 18, 2017 and will be repeated on January 25, 2017. Both sessions will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City. Information will be presented on the survey methods, techniques, equipment used, environmental concerns and mitigation measures, the products of the survey and the benefits to the country. The public will have an opportunity to clarify any concerns and to share their views on the survey.
Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage Writes to Ministry for Answers
Mrs. Yvonne Hyde
Chief Executive Office
Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, trade and Commerce
Ground Floor, Sir Edney Cain Building, Belmopan
January 3rd, 2017
RE: Public Consultation on the Marine Multibeam and Sea Seep Survey
Dear CEO Hyde:
On December 28th 2016 the Government of Belize issued a press release entitled PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THE MARINE MULTIBEAM AND SEA SEEP SURVEY. That press release states that the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum “invites the general public to a public consultation on the Marine Multibeam and Sea Seep Survey that the Government of Belize intends to complete in the deep offshore territorial waters of Belize” and that “the public will have an opportunity to clarify any concerns and to share their views on the survey”.
The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage is therefore requesting additional details regarding the intended structure and purpose of these public “consultations”:
• How will input from the public be handled?
• To whom should written submissions be forwarded?
• Will the public’s input play a role in whether or not the government decides to proceed with the multibeam and sea seep survey? If so, what is that role?
• Is the multibeam and sea seep survey ship already scheduled to be back in Belize?
• Is so, when are the survey vessels scheduled to be back in Belize? Kindly share specific date(s).
• Are the “consultations” announced for Belize City going to be the only such meeting related to this activity?
• If other “consultations” will be held in other parts of the country, kindly share the schedule of those addition meetings and their locations as soon as possible.
• Will and Environmental Impact Assessment be conducted prior to the arrival of the research vessel(s)?
The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage hereby reiterates our commitment to ensuring the meaningful and active participation of the Belizean public on this issue of national importance, and that the mere presentation of information does not constitute active, public participation. We restate our position that multibeam and sea seep survey activity constitutes offshore oil exploration. The Coalition also restates that the company that the Government of Belize is proposing to work with is conducting these surveys for and on behalf of the oil industry.
We strongly encourage the Government of Belize to first consult the Belizean people on whether our marine areas should be open to offshore oil exploration via a national referendum. Rest assured that we will continue to do our part to ensure that the petroleum sector is developed transparently and inclusively in an environmentally conscious manner in order to contribute to the sustainable development of Belize,
Please may I hear from you as a matter of urgency.
Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural heritage