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Right of Reply: No geothermal projects underway in Costa Rica’s nat’l parks

August 6, 2014

The following right of reply responds to the story “Guanacaste geothermal expansion could eliminate the need to burn oil for electricity in Costa Rica,” published July 31, 2014. We have removed the story after confirming significant errors, including incorrect statements that geothermal projects are being built in Rincón de la Vieja National Park, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. We regret the errors and will follow up with an accurate story.

Dear Tico Times:

We’d like to respond to a story you recently published in the Environment section of your online publication titled, “Guanacaste geothermal expansion could eliminate the need to burn oil for electricity in Costa Rica,” written by Corey Kane and published on July 31, 2014.

The article contains totally inaccurate statements that contradict the truth, transparency and seriousness that is required to cover the issue of geothermal energy production currently underway in the outskirts of the Rincón de la Vieja volcanic mountain range, which we cite here:

“A proposal by lawmakers from Guanacaste seeks to build three geothermal plants inside the Rincón de la Vieja National Park.”

“This drilling process has already begun inside the national park, as witnessed during a Tico Times visit to the site, called Pailas II.”

It is absolutely false that any of the three projects under development by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, or ICE, (Pailas II, Borinquen I and II) are being built inside the national park, or that there are efforts to build the three new projects inside the park, as the previous statements lead readers to believe.

While it is true that currently it is not possible to produce geothermal energy within a national park, the Guanacaste Conservation Area, or ACG, and ICE have for the past 10 years held conservastions in an effort to mutually seek a model that permits the country to take advantage of this potential energy resource, without sacrificing or compromising the integrity of a protected area and its species, ecosystems and biodiversity.

In other words, we are jointly searching for a win-win relationship, both for the environmental sector and the energy sector, and, of course, for the country in general.

Statements taken out of context such as those expressed in the article do not contribute to creating a climate of tranquility and seriousness that is required to continue these conversations and initiatives, which we jointly are conducting in order to present them to the Costa Rican public in the most appropriate manner. The same can be said for the “use of geothermal energy within a national park” – which in this case refers to the Rincón de la Vieja National Park – so that it might be used as a pilot project to show the country and the world how to integrate the use of this self-sufficient clean energy resource and the conservation of biodiversity.

We respectfully ask that you correct the information contained in the article. …

We reiterate the interest of our highest authorities in seeing the issue of the potential use of geothermal resources treated with transparency and honesty in order to reach agreements and necessary consensus for the good of the country.

Cordially,

Alejandro Masis Cuevillas

Director, Guanacaste Conservation Area

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