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A story of local, national, and international resistance to oil expansion

The Costa Rican coalition ADELA has thus far halted efforts by three U.S. oil companies to explore and extract hydrocarbons from some of the most naturally abundant ecosystems of Costa Rica. This is the result of a dynamic campaign including a broad range of activities from protests and national demonstrations, legal challenges, political lobbying, public hearings, public Declarations and Manifestations, as well as key international support. However, marine and terrestrial protected wildlife refuges and indigenous reserves are still at risk from potential future oil activity.



Harken Energy Corporation, a U.S. Texas-based oil company, which evolved from George W. Bush’s former company Arbusto, initiated business ventures in Colombia, South America, for the exploration and extraction of petroleum, their first country expanded to outside the United States. [Note: Harken is also currently defending the funding of “Plan Columbia” at U.S. Congress…a matter of “National Security” by U.S. foreign policy. For more information see]


Costa Rica actively participated in the UN Environmental Summit in Rio de Janeiro which provided the Declaration of Rio on Development and the Environment. The Declaration reinforces many rights, including that of the right of citizen participation as well as public access to information about environmental matters affecting one’s community. The Declaration emphasized global consensus and established the obligation of states to evaluate the environmental impacts of any proposed activities that have the probability of producing considerable negative impacts on the environment and that is subject to the decision-making of national authorities. Costa Rica has reinforced the Declaration through judicial decisions citing the transcendental importance of the document. Under Costa Rican constitutional law international agreements are binding as national legislation.

As part of the efforts of the UN Environmental Summit, the Convention on Climate Change was adopted at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. By 1993 it had received 166 signatures, including Costa Rica’s. The Convention entered into force in March, 1994. The Kyoto Protocol was an addendum to the Convention created in 1997, see below.


During former Costa Rican President Rafael Calderón's government (1990-1994), and at the “suggestion” of the World Bank for the Central American region, as a condition for restructuring Costa Rica’s foreign debt, the Costa Rican Legislature hastily approved a Hydrocarbons Law which divided the country into 27 land and marine oil and natural gas exploration blocks, including some that encroach upon indigenous reserves and nationally protected areas. The law opened the country to foreign firms wishing to bid for oil concessions. [Note: Before the final vote on the law, Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court warned Congress that Article 41 of the law, “Concerning Environmental Protection,” contained constitutional defects due to not requiring an environmental viability study prior to the granting of blocks for oil concessions.]


Costa Rican President José Maria Figueres (1994-1998) in search of foreign investors, including the hydrocarbon sector, opened 27 oil and natural gas exploration blocks for bidding.

The Kyoto Protocol to the Climate Change Convention was agreed upon, calling for the stabilization of global climate through reduction of its fuel combustion. The Protocol commits all governments to reduce emissions by 5.7% in relation to that emitted in 1990. By 1999 it had received 84 signatures. [Note: The U.S. has refused to ratify, and it has strongly influenced both Australia and the Russian Federation not to ratify it either.] For more information, including easy to read guides for understanding the Convention and Protocol see www.unfcccint/resource/convkp.html.
Oil development begins...


July: Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodriguez (1998-2002), the recently elected President of the Organization of American States (OAS), granted one concession of four blocks to MKJ Xploration Inc. (MKJ), a small family-owned Louisiana-based company, for the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons. The area equaled 5634 kilometers (1.4 million acres) in a region called Talamanca, located on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast just off the Atlantic port of Moín near Limón. MKJ was the only oil company to bid on the concessions.

November: Publicly traded Harken Energy Corporation of Dallas, Texas, agreed to acquire 80 percent of concession rights from MKJ, purchasing 40% outright, thereby giving Harken on and offshore exploration rights to the 1.4 million acres and doubling Harken's Latin American exploration sites. (The two U.S. oil companies combined make up Harken Costa Rica Holdings, or HCRH, at this point 60% owned by MKJ and 40% owned by Harken Energy.) For more information about Harken Energy and MKJ Xplorations see and and


March: The National Technical Environmental Secretariat (SETENA), the branch of the Ministry of the Environment (MINAE) responsible for reviewing environmental impact assessments for development projects in Costa Rica, approved Harken’s environmental impact study (EIA) for marine seismic reflection blasting, the first phase of exploration. The approved EIA was a pre-condition per Costa Rica’s Hydrocarbons law to the signing of a formal contract. One condition of the approved EIA was that the prospective blasting not be carried out during the marine species’ (lobster, shrimp, sea turtles, etc.) migrating seasons, as such species provide the basis of economic development in the region. Further, the study determined that January and June were the two months during which the least amount of impact to marine life and migrating patters would occur. Other terms in the EIA include HCRH posting a $7,955 bond (1% of the value of the project), as well as referencing preventative and mitigating measures that would be taken. The EIA also dictated that the company avoid, minimize, and compensate any and all impacts resulting from the activities and furthermore, that in the case of noncompliance of the EIA, the company would be directly responsible for any environmental damage caused, and/or subject to sanctions established by law.

August: Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) formally signed the oil development contract with HCRH for exploration and extraction which included the following areas: (1) the marine area within the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, (2) an area surrounding the protected marine portion of Cahuita National Park, and (3) a terrestrial area in the Cabecar Indigenous Reserve. The contract allowed three years to explore, renewable to six, and twenty years to extract gas and oil.

October-December: HCRH began exploring the area off Moín bay, near the city of Limón, using seismic reflection blasting to map possible oil reserves (over 20,000 blasts occurred) despite the condition in the EIA which specified that the blasting would be carried out in either January or June to minimize the impact on marine life. Locals who rely on fishing complained that the explosions from the seismic reflections drove lobsters and shrimp away as the blasting occurred directly on their migrating paths, thereby disrupting the region's fishing industry. However, as no baseline study had been previously carried out, the fishing community was unable to “prove” that the blasting caused the dramatic drop in catch.

December: Local Costa Rican groups came together to oppose the offshore oil exploration and drilling. These groups include municipal governments, development associations, environmentalists, biologists, the eco-tourism sector, and organizations representing indigenous peoples such as the BriBri and Cabecar. Specifically, a coalition named Accion de Lucha Antipetrolera (ADELA), initially comprised of 30 local citizens' organizations and eventually growing to over 100, was formed to stop oil drilling in the region. (See

December: The Municipality of Talamanca issued a public declaration against the exploration and extraction of petroleum and communicated it to the President of the Republic. The thrust of the declaration was that there was no prior consultation afforded before decisions were made, contrary to the national governments duty to consult local governments. The declaration also reminded the executive branch of the federal government that Costa Rica signed the Rio Declaration of 1992, the Climate Change Convention of 1993, the Biodiveristy Convention, and the Kyoto Protocol of 1997; all of which are documents that challenge governments to develop clean energy and find replacements for fossil fuels. (


January: The non-governmental environmental law organization Justicia para la Naturaleza (JPN) prepared a lawsuit representing the groups comprised of ADELA requesting an injunction and annulment of the exploration concessions. JPN claimed that the government violated the citizen’s rights to prior consultation and participation in the process of granting the concessions and asserted that the oil concessions as well as the subsequent contract granted by MINAE violated Costa Rica's laws, its Constitution, as well as various international treaties or conventions to which the nation is party. Neither before nor during the concession bidding process were the municipalities and communities of the region informed about or consulted for their views on the possible consequences that oil exploration and future extraction would have on their region and their livelihoods.

Among the violations cited are the following: (1) International agreements, such as the UN Declaration of Rio de Janeiro, Agenda 21, the Convention on Biodiversity, the Covenant of the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands, Covenant 169 of the ILO on Indigenous Populations, Laws of the Seas, etc; and (2) Articles of the Political Constitution: Art.7 (international agreements), Art. 46 (the right to inform and be informed), Art. 50 (the right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment), and Art. 121, clause 14 (the exclusive right of the Legislative Assembly "to decree the transfer of property or the application of public use to the property owned by the Nation" including "sources and deposits of oil.”)

April: Costa Rica ratified the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, pledging to "promote the protection, conservation and recovery of sea turtle populations and of the habitats on which they depend..."

April: The Costa Rican government granted a second oil concession including 2.4 million acres in six land blocks to Mallon Oil Company, based in Denver, Colorado. These blocks are located on the north Caribbean Sea and northern terrestrial zones of the country bordering Nicaragua and include indigenous and protected areas, including two wildlife refuges and surrounding Tortuguero National Park.

July: Instead of proposing to carry out an action which would prevent any potential impact in the field, Mallon Oil Company presented its EIA to SETENA, which was merely a bibliographical request for documentation, with no activity in the field.

July: HCRH presented a 2nd EIA to SETENA corresponding to the second phase of exploration (drilling marine wells) based on the evaluation of seismic reflections carried out in the first phase.

September: Representatives of the affected communities of the oil concessions granted in Limón province presented to the Legislative Assembly a Manifesto signed by thousands of affected Costa Rican citizens asking the members to declare Costa Rica free from oil exploration and extraction.

September: The Constitutional Court decided in favor of JPN / ADELA’s challenge to the legality of the HCRH concession and annulled the granting of the 4 blocks in the Caribbean zone based upon Costa Rica being bound by the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169 “Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries.” Articles 6 and 14 of the Convention require indigenous communities be consulted prior to proposed measures which may directly affect them, as well as the requirement that measures be taken by the government to safeguard their lands. The court also ordered the government to pay costs and damages that resulted from the faulty bidding process. Both sides to the dispute, however, requested further clarification from the Court due to apparent inconsistencies in the opinion.

October: SETENA approved the supposed EIA (bibliographical request) presented by Mallon Oil Company, thus formally enabling Mallon to request the signing of a contract with the government of Costa Rica.

November: The Constitutional Court modified the September decision, nullifying only the land blocks affecting indigenous territories, thereby reactivating the rights to continue exploration activities in two marine blocks reasoning that these areas are exclusive state domain.

After a community outcry of the failure of Harken Energy to comply with a court-ordered clean up, Harken Energy came under fire in the U.S. media for having been very slow to clean up gasoline and petroleum leaks from six storage tanks in Florida during the 1980s. The leaks threatened drinking water supplies and ocean waters of the Florida Keys. A company spokesman said that tanks were drained when spills were discovered, but Florida's Department of Environmental records show that clean-ups were slow, and in some cases did not occur until more than a decade later when the state (and the taxpayers) had taken on the responsibility. For several of the leaks, Harken did nothing to clean up the mess. Harken also ran into similar problems in Texas. See 99-11229; Rice v. Harken Exploration Company (USDC No. 2:97-CV-402).


January: International environmental organizations join ADELA’s efforts. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Global Response, Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC), Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (E-LAW), InterAmerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Forest Conservation Action Alerts, Environmental News Network (ENN), Environmental Defense, Project Underground, and Radio International Feminista, began to bolster the local resistance with a wide range of support, i.e. research on legal and technical issues, international exposure, etc. Supporters sent the oil companies and the Costa Rican government approximately 50,000 emails, faxes, and letters of protest.

January-May: National and international scientists and numerous organizations as well as individuals submitted critiques of HCRH’s EIA to SETENA and became party to the review process. As a result, SETENA requested that HCRH submit an Addendum with further information to correct the deficiencies found.

February: The Human Rights Ombudsman issued a final report in response to numerous complaints submitted regarding the oil development process. The Ombudsman noted deficiencies in the environmental impact studies and determined that SETENA was without technical resources (administrative and financial) to adequately carry out its mandate to evaluate the company’s proposal. It recommended that a baseline environmental study be carried out for consideration by SETENA to include the state and economic significance of the sea turtles and other endangered species, the coral reefs at Cahuita National Park, and the species and risks inside the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. It suggested that SETENA assure constant control and verification of any activities, if approved, and that if additional activities are subsequently approved, that it submit them for reconsideration to the affected communities. It also recommended that SETENA assure that proper emergency and contingency plans are in place. Moreover, it recommended to the Municipalities of Limón and Talamanca that they promote the flow of both general and technical information in order to afford local inhabitants their right to participate in the decision-making process. SETENA responded to the Ombudsman shortly thereafter stating that it will fully comply with the recommendations made.

February: More than 800 sea turtle biologists and conservationists unanimously approved a resolution calling for the Costa Rican government to ban all oil exploration in its Caribbean marine areas. The scientists were gathered at the 21st International Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation in Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.

March: HCRH submitted an Addendum to the EIA (as requested by SETENA) regarding the drilling phase of the first offshore well.

July: Due to the success of the resistance campaign resulting in a drop in the value of Harken’s stock shares and continuous legal delays in Costa Rica, Harken Energy decided against purchasing the additional 40% share in HCRH, thereby retaining only 40% ownership in the Costa Rican venture. Around the same time Harken Energy created the subsidiary Global Energy Development PLC for the purpose of handling offshore matters.

September: Much public pressure had been placed on SETENA, forcing it to take the unusual measure of convening a public hearing in Limón which brought hundreds of people together to debate the prospective oil development issues. The company bused in about 100 unemployed people hopeful of future employment with the oil company, gave them matching shirts reading “yes to progress,” fed them and paid them a day’s wages. On the other hand, ADELA members were forced to take time off from their jobs, and pay for their own food and transportation, yet they still outnumbered the oil company “supporters.” Moreover, when the group opposing the oil company manifested its position, the paid oil “supporters” responded with insults and threats. More than 300 people between university activists and residents of Limón supported ADELA’s campaign with colorful and national banners, posters, etc. Professionals including marine biologists and directors of environmental organizations supported ADELA’s position by giving various presentations about the different social, economic and environmental impacts, by critiquing the company’s EIA.

Representatives from indigenous communities, the tourism and fishing sectors, churches, and other community members in the area also participated. The only argument in favor of the proposed oil projects was the grave economic situation and need for new jobs in the region. However, the company admitted that local permanent jobs would be minimal.

October: Co-sponsored by (IUCN) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Alejandro Yáñez-Arancibia (PhD and consultant in ecosystems and the environment) and David Zárate Lomelí (MS and consultant in ecological planning and environmental impact), both internationally recognized environmental scientists from Tabasco, Mexico, did an independent assessment of the company’s EIA and addendum submitted by HCRH for the drilling phase. Based upon the technical deficiencies, they advised SETENA not to approve the EIA submitted by the petroleum company until vital information regarding disposition of toxic wastes, the definition of the area of influence and clarification of how potential risks to the area would be handled.

December 21st: The Constitutional Court ruled upon two pending cases: (1) it held unconstitutional Article 41 of the Hydrocarbons Law allowing the granting of concessions before environmental assessments were conducted, as a violation of Article 50 of the Constitution (the right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment), reasoning that EIA’s should be conducted before concessions could be granted; and (2) it ordered the government not to sign a contract with Mallon Oil Company until full environmental feasibility studies had been carried out. The full decisions were to be published at a future date. (see February 2002).

December 23rd: SETENA’s technical staff recommended to the SETENA Board of Directors that they approve HCRH’s EIA to drill first marine well. 2002

January: In response to ADELA’s urgent request to international organizations, Environmental Defense, Global Response, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), and Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) were mobilized to express their technical concerns to SETENA about the potential approval of HCRH’s EIA. (See,

February: The Constitutional Court published the full opinions from the two December decisions: (1) it ruled unconstitutional Article 41 of the 1994 Hydrocarbons Law striking all but the following: “Exploration and development activities will have to meet all the standards and legal and regulatory requirements on environmental protection and recovery of renewable natural resources.” The ruling was not retroactive allowing HCRH to retain their contract rights if they and the government show the process was conducted in “good faith;” (2) it found a violation of Article 50 of the Constitution, which guarantees Costa Ricans “the right to a healthy and ecologically balanced” environment (and places the onus of defending these rights squarely on the government), for failing to determine whether the proposed oil development would comply with constitutional rights (specifically Article 50) as well as for failing to consult with the indigenous communities affected in the Mallon Oil case.

The contract with Mallon has still not been signed, partly due to the ruling of the Constitutional Court which determined that contracts could not be signed without first analyzing concessions in terms of environmental protection and consulting indigenous populations, and partly due to the local campaigning against oil development, both of which contributed to the inactivity of the government regarding Mallon’s contract.

February 28th: SETENA’s Board issued the final evaluation of HCRH’s EIA resolving to reject the EIA as not being environmentally or socially viable. SETENA listed 50 reasons why the submitted EIA was insufficient. It also cited national and international laws that obligate Costa Rica to comply with high environmental standards, such as the Declaration of Rio on Development and the Environment. See

March: HCRH filed an administrative appeal of SETENA’s resolution before MINAE.

April: ADELA requested Dr. Abel Pacheco de la Espriella, a member of the Legislative Assembly (and Presidential candidate at the time), to propose a bill (No. 16630) repealing the 1994 Hydrocarbons Law as it permitted the executive branch to exclusively enter into oil contracts with foreign companies prior to consultation with the Legislative Assembly.

May: On her last day in office, environmental Minister Elizabeth Odio formally upheld SETENA’s decision regarding the exploratory drilling by rejecting HCRH’s appeal, finding that there were no legal deficiencies in SETENA’s extensive resolution. Under Costa Rican law, Harken had 60 days to file a request for judicial review of the administrative decision.

May: The newly elected president of Costa Rica, Dr. Abel Pacheco de la Espriella (2002-present), specifically addressed oil exploration in his inaugural speech stating that Costa Rica should become "an ecological leader, not an oil enclave," and that "the true oil and gold for Costa Rica are water and oxygen produced by our forests."

May: JPN / ADELA filed a petition to SETENA requesting the revocation of its prior approval of Mallon Oil Company’s EIA in 2000 arguing the EIA was contrary to law as it did not meet the necessary requirements of an EIA.

July: JNP / ADELA filed a claim with the Constitutional Court against MINAE and SETENA requesting a precautionary injunction to insure that no contract is signed with Mallon Oil for lack of compliance with the law, due to SETENA’s failure to require an adequate EIA (e.g. SETENA failed to even ask for documents regarding the environmental implications of the activity).

June-July: HCRH initiated discussions with the Costa Rican government to explore possible compensation if they left the country. Mallon Oil Company also met with the Pacheco Administration and the Ambassador of the United States and threatened to sue for damages in a federal forum in the United States. Thereafter Mallon Oil Company initiated a campaign to discredit Costa Rica’s reputation.

July-November: The government of Costa Rica continued to discuss the responsibilities of all parties regarding the discontinuation of the petroleum activities.


Negotiations of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) began. CAFTA is a regional agreement between the U.S. and five Central American countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The Dominican Republic was also “docked” onto the agreement. Using the NAFTA model as a point of departure, CAFTA would formalize the corporate globalization agenda, removing tariff barriers in the five Central American countries on most imported agricultural products and promoting the privatization and deregulation of fundamental public services. Small farmers in Central America, already devastated by the importation of cheaply grown agribusiness U.S. grains, years of drought, and the massive fall of coffee prices on the world market, would face the extinction of their livelihoods. CAFTA would likely force a massive migration of erstwhile farmers to large urban areas to work in the informal sector or maquilas (sweatshops), or to risk a dangerous journey to seek work in the U.S. (See

March: Rapid City, S.D.-based Black Hills Corp. completed its $53 million purchase of Denver-based Mallon Resources Corp. (OTC bulletin board: MLRC). Mallon Costa Rican holdings are not discussed in buy out.

September: HCRH filed a claim for US$57 billion in damages against Costa Rica before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSCE), a subsidiary of the World Bank. US$57 billion is more than three times Costa Rica’s annual GDP.

October: Due to the overwhelming negative reaction in Costa Rica and the government’s insistence that the Harken case be settled in the country’s court system as the contract stipulates, as well as the impossibility of ever compensating that amount of money, Harken announced it was dropping a US$57 billion claim before the World Banks' ICSCE, maintaining however, that it would continue to pursue compensation.

June: The Nicaraguan government granted MKJ and three other small U.S. firms rights to explore for oil in an area a west of the Caribbean island San Andres as well as for blocks directly offshore from the Nicaraguan-Caribbean coast. Because the latter has the potential to impact Costa Rica in the case of a spill, Costa Rica requested information from the Nicaraguan government. With regards to the area west of San Andres, Columbia claimed that by virtue of a 1928 treaty Colombia controls a Caribbean swath that includes San Andres and a few other specks in an archipelago 120 miles east of Nicaragua. As a result, Colombia has threatened Nicaragua if their activity extends into their exclusive zone of the Caribbean. The dispute regarding island and marine rights is still pending.

December: Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) was signed by all countries except Costa Rica. The main issues preventing Costa Rica from signing were United States agricultural subsidies and privatization of government services (including the social security insurance, electric and telephone sectors).

December: The Constitutional Court accepted jurisdiction of an amparo claim presented by HCRH alleging defects in the notification procedure by MINAE to resolve the oil contract. In their claim, Harken argued failure of timely notice of the first service of the process to rescind the contract caused fatal defects to the entire due process proceeding.


January: Based on further negotiations with the Costa Rican government HCRH’s new representative, former U.S. Senator Robert Torcelli, HCRH reduced their claim to US$15 million requesting "reimbursment" for the alleged value of their out-of-pocket investment. However, since the Costa Rican government had been officially notified only of exploration activities valued at US$3 million, it requested a full financial accounting for the alleged US$15 million. (No accounting has been delivered as of June, 2004.)

January: More than 100 ADELA supporters came to the MINAE offices to manifest their support of the Minister's legal efforts to terminate the contract and to repudiate Robert Torricelli and HCRH's tactics in their "negotiations" with the Costa Rican government. Ex Senator Torricelli proposed three possible solutions to resolve this conflict. However, at the end of the meeting, MINAE informed the press that it clearly could not submit to threats and pressure imposed by the oil company.

March: Friends of the Earth, Oxfam America and Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) write letters to the U.S. Congress citing the case of Harken Costa Rica as an example of the risks posed by the terms of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) for environment and development in the region.

March: The U.S. Embassy in San José issued an unusual statement lamenting the decision made by the Costa Rican government to withdraw from negotiations with the Harken Energy petroleum firm. If Costa Rica maintains this attitude, the statement said, there will be adverse repercussions for the country and the climate of negotiations for U.S. investment in Costa Rica.

October: The Supreme Constitutional Court rejected Harken's claim of improper service of process for MINAE's administrative notification to hold a hearing for Harken to respond to the government allegations of breach of contract in order to resolve the ongoing dispute. The CR government has 60 days to reinitiate administrative termination of contract proceedings.

HCRH and Mallon, CR are both attempting to place a hold on their present legal status until the next government takes office in 2006. Harken is using the Constitutional court and plans more legal actions that require attention and our responses. They are attempting to extend the administrative processes further to avoid a possible termination of the exploration and extraction contract and concessions.

Harken failed to comply with the contract. SETENA made a resolution in February 2002, that was thereafter affirmed by the environmental Minister Elizabeth Odio, declaring that the EIA submitted by HCRH was deficient. HCRH never appealed SETENA’s resolution nor did it present a new EIA. The contract signed with HCRH is thus void as it was conditioned upon the approval of an EIA within 3 years exploration period. The government has attempted to resolve the contract since September 2003. However, at the administrative hearing, HCRH filed a constitutional challenge which was
accepted by the Court for review in December, 2003 and later rejected on the merits October 2004.


January: The Costa Rican president informed HCRH that they have terminated their contract for failure to comply to the term of obtaining an approved EIA pursuant to the environmental law in Costa Rica.ß Update- Mallon, CR has appealed to MINAE and SETENA to allow the 2000 approval resolution for their first stage of exploration to advocate the signing of a full contract. The appeals presented by ADELA and JPN have been pending without resolution from SETENA for nearly two years and new attorneys and directors at SETENA have been unwilling to delve into the merits of the case.

CAFTA: The relationship between CAFTA and hydrocarbon exploration is not favorable. Ratification of CAFTA could lay ground work for a US challenge to the proposed Costa Rican legislation to repeal the hydrocarbons law allowing exploration and extraction by foreign oil companies. According to Annex I of the present draft language of CAFTA, the hydrocarbons law cannot be repealed or reformed as it would restrict US oil investments. The members of CAFTA agree to consolidate their existing laws in agreement with the investment terms of CAFTA. Legislation could only be modified if favorable to the terms and not limiting the oil companies' free access. (See articles 10.13.1.c and 11.6..c.





2004, Grupo ADELA, Costa Rica
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