May 2002

Costa Rica rejects offshore drilling plan

In early May 2002, following months of pressure from Costa Ricans and more than 27,000 letters from BioGems Defenders, the Costa Rican government rejected a plan by Harken Energy of Texas and MKJ Xplorations of Louisiana to drill for oil off the country's Caribbean coast. The Talamanca region of Costa Rica is a lush tangle of tropical forests, mangrove swamps, white-sand beaches and magnificent coral reefs; its waters are home to manatees, rare Tucuxi dolphins and endangered leatherback, hawksbill and green sea turtles. Oil drilling off Talamanca would have spelled disaster for local fisheries, marine animals, and the area's fledging ecotourism industry.