Costa Rica proposes 20-year prison sentence for starting fires in protected areas
Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla presented on Thursday a draft bill that would establish prison sentences of up to 20 years for arsonists who set fires in national parks and other protected areas.
Chinchilla said she would send the bill – known as the “Fire Bill” – to the Legislative Assembly in coming days. She also signed a decree formalizing the government’s strategy to combat forest fires for the next five years.
As a financing mechanism, the initiative calls for new taxes on bottled water and tourism.
Environment Minister René Castro said the bill also includes measures to promote responsible care by landowners of vacant properties.
Officials also announced they will use ₡100 million ($200,000) to rent helicopters and gyrocopters to monitor forest fires.
According to government statistics, of 490 fires in the past five years, only seven had natural causes.
In 2012, a total 34,000 hectares of forest burned, representing a cost of ₡690 million ($1.3 million).
You may be interested
Costa Rica coronavirus updates for July 12, 2020Alejandro Zúñiga - July 12, 2020
Costa Rica confirmed 365 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 7,596 cumulative known cases, the Health…
Slothy Sunday: Osa, a true ‘Oso Perezoso’Denise Gillen - July 12, 2020
Looks can be deceiving, as those of us who work with sloths can tell you. This is especially true with…
Hotel reservation won’t work as exception to driving restrictions this week [Updated]Alejandro Zúñiga - July 11, 2020
Update: After the Saturday afternoon press conference, the Costa Rican government has apparently changed its mind on this subject. According to…