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TNC Keeping an Eye on Vulcan

Vulcan’s interest has also attracted the attention of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) specifically when it comes to the implementation of the blue bond agreement. In October 2021, Cabinet announced that steps were taken to complete the cancellation of the $1.1 billion-plus superbond and to enter into the Blue Bond loan for the payment of the superbond at a discounted 55 cents on the dollar. This includes the passing of the necessary National Assembly resolutions and the Blue Bond Loan Bill. According to Program Coordinator Julie Robinson the Blue Bond Agreement requires that projects like the Belize Port Expansion Project will need to follow updated EIA regulations. And recently, there has been much take about Vulcan Materials Company’s interest in developing a quarry at the White Ridge area in Sothern Belize. Robinson explains. 

Julie Robinson, Belize Program Director, TNC: “Belize shall not and shall not cause the Government of Belize and its agencies to approve any major development projects that are inconsistent with Belizean law or such updates to the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations and that’s the revisions that I was telling you about so essentially what this is saying is that before any major developments take place, the Government is meant to update its Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations and so that is within the Conservation Funding Agreement. To my knowledge, the EIA regulations have not been revised, or updated, or strengthened as yet. This is one of the things that really should take place before any major development projects that would impact the marine or coastal environment were to happen and that’s the approval of that EIA process. I’ve just briefly touched on VULCAN and to see what, you know in preparation for his interview, just to see to get some more information and certainly the location and the impact to the area which is near Gales Point it would have an impact in the Cern Lagoon, areas where you’d have manatees and then of course the nesting beaches for Hawksbill Turtles. So, these are certainly coastline marine ecosystems that could be impacted negatively so if Government were to proceed with an EIA process because my understanding is that they have not stated with an EIA process as yet, if they were to proceed with that, I think it would be a direct sort of contradiction but I’m not saying legal terms you know. It’s not contravening the agreement but it certainly contradicts the spirit of the agreement that we have for the Conservation Funding Agreement which is part of the Blue loan, the Blue Bonds agreement, sorry, that we have with Government. So, yeah it’s something we are monitoring. We are looking at and given the track record of this company and what we have seen that has happened it would, yeah it makes no sense that we as a country would proceed with engaging with this company.”