The proposal “Use of National Energy Resources” –read it correctly: let’s exploit oil, export electricity, and weaken the MINAE– that would be submitted to a referendum if it achieves 5% of the signatures of the electoral roll, is a clear health will project of the planet’s climate. If such a setback takes place, we would kill our true “golden-egg” hen, since the true wealth of Costa Rica is in its biodiversity and the people who protect it.
The so-called proposal would lead us to stipulate the inspiration that Costa Rica has generated internationally in being free of this type of extractivism. These old (and caveman-like) proposals to end the future, at a time when you have to bet on new energy and biodiversity protection, can only be obscurantist and outdated occurrences.
The “oil referendum” will be sitting on a remote possibility: the unlikely existence of oil in Costa Rica. Not even the drivers of this fallacy can certainly assure that there is oil in this country. At the same time, the desire to change the structure of the central government to make Costa Rica an extractive enclave is evident; that is, there is a ‘locked-up cat’.
The project assumptions present the same collection of cheerful numbers that can be made with any calculator and that accompanied the intentions of past attempts at oil exploitation, all rejected through scientific studies, technical opinions, legal resources, and social organization.
How many televisions, trains, houses, or more cars could we have or do? All these cheerful numbers that do not show us are the environmental costs that this industry would bring to society, ecosystems and the battered atmosphere. Precisely the previous intentions for this activity yielded greater socio-environmental costs than the mentioned and supposed benefits.
Costa Rican society reached an important consensus that our development should not be based on the extractive industry. This consensus was ratified by an oil moratorium in the administration of Abel Pacheco. Óscar Arias refused to sign the contract with Mallon Oil. Laura Chinchilla extended the moratorium decree until 2021 and the moratorium was also ratified during the Solís administration and by the current administration extending it until 2050.
Imagine tourists watching oil exploitation platforms on the coast and their typical black tides of tar covering up the white sand of the Caribbean with filth… Do you forget what is the main source of foreign exchange that our economy has?
The complex proposal to activate oil exploration is accompanied by an extensive project that, in addition, has many other Trojan horses, such as the legalization of the transnational status for ICE, for electricity exports, and RECOPE.
This would be a clear contradiction against another referendum proposal to end the monopoly of RECOPE. This aspect shows that this project is not designed to seek energy sovereignty, but to add energy to transnational circuits.
Both ICE and RECOPE are strengthened; but with the clear vision of exporting our energy resources and negotiating outside the country, to lower costs and make transactions with large electricity consumers. However, obviously this would have very high costs for communities in environmental quality, which do not compensate for the benefits. These businesses would end up being candies in hell.
About the project…
The project does not clarify what we do with oil without being able to refine it here. Nor is it clear whether RECOPE will extract oil from the Amazon and bring it to refine it in the country. It is not known in which refinery or at what ecological or economic costs. We find that the project leaves the possibility of extracting oil from anywhere in the world (Article 14). The foregoing would imply to re-discuss whether or not to build a new refinery. Of course, these costs are not included in the cheerful numbers raised by the project.
Costa Rica would begin to gain the reputation of seeking new horizons with its oil company for the purpose of environmental destruction. It would be a sordid scenario: seeing companies in the Costa Rican state poisoning seas, rivers and destroying resources of local communities in other latitudes. Whenever the same happens, the same happens: Oil exploitation is simply a brutal aggression against the environment and its people. What a great damage to the image of the ecological country that we have tried to build!
We see on the horizon the new generations of Costa Ricans facing international demands for environmental damage, because of this obscurantist crusade towards energies that will be obsolete and outdated in a few years. And may God save some “stage” of an oil tower outside Costa Rica!
It should also be clarified that Costa Rica would not have the oil at its disposal immediately, once that bill was passed. The country would have to go through a long stage of prospecting, with great impacts, environmental, social and economic. The country would be carrying that cost, while still importing oil for a long time. This would happen without any certainty that black gold may be found in the national territory. This makes this adventurous idea even less convenient in times of economic crisis.
The project proposes a complex scaffolding of pseudo-Statism; but that is well known in the oil industry, where despite the fact that oil would be in the public domain, the segmented industrial process and the complex business architecture are done by service, concessionaire, marketing and transnational companies. It is a private business that earns by hand while the ecological and social impacts are internalized.
The proposal seeks to create a Ministry of Energy by separating the addresses of the MINAE that is currently related to energy and mining. It is the old-dream of extractivists to leave the environmental area to return to the caverns. In addition, the project establishes new competences for ARESEP and the reform of dozens of laws to consolidate the change and leave the MINAE without the “E” of energy.
The text of the oil project is not even posted on the website of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). Meanwhile, they are collecting signatures for the referendum when few people know the content of the proposal. We have obtained a copy of the text through the same author, at our request, and in our own interest. But if this referendum is successful, it will be dark and undemocratic.
While the rest of the world discusses how to reduce oil burning and migrate to other alternatives, in Costa Rica they left the outdated retrograde caverns disrespecting something that was already discussed and agreed upon. Costa Rica has already decided to leave the oil underground and lead to environmental issues.
It is urgent to leave fossil fuels underground; let the planet cool down; stop burning fossil fuels. There is no time to return to this kind of sterile discussions that delay the decisions and actions that are needed for yesterday.
Are we going to burn Costa Rica’s oil, if there is one and if it were of good quality? Are we going to burn the atmosphere and the future of those who have not yet been born, and then, when it is over, start looking for energy alternatives once the exhausting resource comes to an end? Or are we going to look for and lead the search for alternatives for something that is going to end?
After a climate summit, of plans to reduce carbon dependence, this proposal is an invitation to return to barbarism and the past. It is already known that the earth is round and not flat, and it is already known that, if oil continues to burn, there will be no future. Skinny please do publicize this nonsense of old-fashioned black gold.
We should not give a ball to a single person who, with particular interests, wants to take us 20 years back in a discussion that has already happened. We call the new generations to organize and fight for their future. To those who already played and did not contribute at the time, we say that they are not so unconscious and leave future possibilities and conditions for survival to future generations.