March 19, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) A dozen environmental organizations say they reject the proposed “mutilation” of over 1,000 hectares of Rincon de la Vieja National Park in Guanacaste for a geothermal energy project.
A bill in the Legislative Assembly, #17680, seeks to remove an area of over 1,000 hectares of primary natural forest for the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), to develop a geothermal energy project in the park.
Under Costa Rican law the park is considered a Natural Heritage Site.
Although the current bill refers only to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, ICE studies indicate that there is the potential for geothermal production in nearly every national park that has a volcano. As such, some say that the passage of the bill would represent a precedent, and could be the first of a number of possible proposals to exploit the country’s national parks for energy production, which environmentalists warn will inevitably lead to the fragmentation and deterioration of the parks’ ecosystems.
The government is also advancing the Rio Piedras Reservoir project, which would flood 130 hectares of the Reserva de Lomas de Barbudal in Guanacaste.
Those opposed to these plans point out that the country’s national parks are an important part of the economy since they draw eco-tourists from around the world, and the decision to disrupt the ecosystems of the parks should not be taken lightly.