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 seeks to attract film and television productions with incentivesMarco SIBAJA / AFP - February 26, 2021
Costa Rica is considering offering incentives to attract international film and television productions, which currently choose other destinations in the…
Official: Costa Rica’s land borders remain closed for arriving touristsThe Tico Times - February 26, 2021
As we first reported earlier this week, Costa Rica's land borders will remain restricted until at least April. Throughout March,…