[Coral-List] "Experts" assess oil exploration in Belize

Tom Williams ctwiliams at yahoo.com
Thu May 5 14:13:53 EDT 2011

Risk is always the issue and what determines the risk that a reef will be subject to and what will be done if risk is realized...
Let's look at one risk realized - ExxonValdez - remember that one??
After 25 years of 24-7 spill response team operations, someone decided that that was enough and no more risk...BUT one of the specific hazard areas was where the EV ran aground -  operations depends on humans - forget about DeepWaterHorizon
Issues of Liability are now subject for the DWH and unless it is establish before things start forget about it being implemented after the fact 
Similar should liability include "All costs required to return the reef to its original conditions" but what are the original conditions and conditions "shortly" before the event...
I also review Belize - shoreline development and the same issues arose...who pays and who profits and what is baseline..
In Dubai, the head of Nakheel/Dubai World stated that "Not one coral would be harmed by Palm Island [One, Jumierah]".  He was right - more than 1,000,000 sq m of coral heads BUT anyway
If anyone in Belize needs some techie assistant...happy to help.
Dr. Tom

--- On Thu, 5/5/11, Belize Marine TREC <trec at hotmail.com> wrote:

From: Belize Marine TREC <trec at hotmail.com>
Subject: [Coral-List] "Experts" assess oil exploration in Belize
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Date: Thursday, May 5, 2011, 10:50 AM

Obviously this is a debate based on acceptable levels of risk, values and priorities.
I will continue to report on our Belizean struggle to protect the reef from oil drilling but
will leave each to their own opinions of what type of future they wish for their children. 
However, thinking you could "know" a country in 60 days is questionable. (okay I'm done)
Dr. K.C. Mattes

Excerpts from Belize Channel 5 News

The first of the two experts who said he is working pro bono, Rick Steiner, a professor in Anchorage Alaska has been in Belize over the past week on a scientific and technical fact finding mission to evaluate the country’s position in terms of spill liability, financial liability, regulations and Environmental Impact Assessments. But according to Steiner, unlike other countries, the industry doesn’t yet have adequate standards for oil production.

"If it is to be done, it has to be done with the highest global standards, best available technology using American Petroleum Institute and American Society for Mechanical Engineering standards. Many other countries require their oil industry to meet those standards as a legal requirement, my understanding so far here is that Belize has no such requirement and so that there are likely insufficient standards here for the existing oil and gas production you have at Spanish Lookout.” (on the mainland currently pumping).

Steiner said that Belize is party to two of the International Marine Pollution Protocol Pollution Protocol which are Civil Liability Convention and the 1992 International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund which covers Belize up to three hundred million U.S. dollars in the case of a massive offshore oil spill. However, Belize isn’t a part of the Supplementary Fund which covers up to over one billion U.S. dollars. Richard Fineberg, an Economist who specializes in Production Sharing Agreements, is expected to arrive in the country this Wednesday.
For the complete story including offshore drilling comments visit www.BelizeMarineTREC.com 

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