[Coral-List] Hope for Dominican Republic Protected Areas

Hershowitz, Ari ahershowitz at nrdc.org
Fri Jun 18 13:48:30 EDT 2004

Update:  Hope for Dominican Republic Protected Areas

Thanks to the Coral List!!!

The outgoing President of the Dominican Republic, Hipolito Mejía, did not approve a law passed by Congress that would have eviscerated more than 30 areas in the country's protected areas system, and allowed mining in all protected areas.  The President made "observations" to the law and sent it back to Congress.  This is a great achievement for the thousands of Dominicans, and many supporters around the world who marched, called, faxed and wrote to oppose this law.

**Many, many scientists on this list signed a letter that was sent to the President days before his decision, asking him not to approve the law or make any changes to the park system without a thorough scientific basis.  In total, nearly a hundred scientists signed the letter.  This impressive list of scientists certainly helped sway the decision.

However, the current law still would lower the protected status for five parks, including key coastal areas of Jaragua and El Este national parks.  Groups in the Dominican Republic and worldwide are still sending their messages to the President, urging him to complete the protection of these areas if the Congress returns the law to him.

The new President will be inaugurated in August, and is considered pro-environment.  Legislation attacking the parks is not likely to pass after this point.  The next couple of months are crucial, then, and we will keep you updated on what happens.


Ari Hershowitz
Director, BioGems Project, Latin America
Natural Resources Defense Council 

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