Environmentalism Vs. Development

The Panamanian Supreme Court of Justice has revoked the resolution that had approved the environmental impact study to build an oil pipeline that would supply fuel to Tocumen airport.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice comes just a few days after the same institution received an injunction against a project to build a port terminal on Isla Margarita, Colón, with an estimated investment of $600 million. Also annulled by the Court, in mid-January, was an EIA to set up a 150 MW wind farm, which was to be built in the Fortuna forest reserve.

In 2014, Vertikal Corporation obtained a concession for a 4 hectare area located between the coast of the sea adjacent to Tocumen international airport, to build a fuel terminal from where it would supply the airport through an oil pipeline. See "Concession for fuel storage"

Regarding the decision to revoke the environmental permit for the pipeline, Prensa.com reports that "... the ruling arose after an appeal filed on June 5, 2017 by the Center for Environmental Impact, the Urban Citizen Network of Panama and the Center for Studies and Social Action in Panama, arguing alleged violations of the rights to a healthy environment, to sustainable development and the primacy of the public interest over private interests."

"... In his ruling, the residing magistrate, Jerónimo Mejía, agreed with the arguments raised by CIAM and concluded that the approval of the EIA for the pipeline project definitely violates the right to a healthy environment."

There is no doubt that this legal ruling will give pause to investors and business people coming from outside of Central America who see Panama as a potential destination for their investments. This legal ruling will surely make them question what real legal protection the country offers for developing large-scale investment projects.

More on this topic

$600 million Port Project Hindered by Environmental Issues

January 2018

The Supreme Court of Justice in Panama has accepted the appeal for legal protection brought against the construction project of a multimodal port in Isla Margarita, province of Colon.

The Environmental Impact Study (EIA) that Panama Colón Container Port Inc.

Setback for 150 MW Wind Farm

January 2018

In Panama, the Supreme Court of Justice has annulled an environmental impact study for a wind farm with 75 wind turbines, which was planned to be built in the Fortuna forest reserve.

Arguing that the Environmental Impact Study (EIA) should have been category III, instead of II, because it is within a protected area, the Third Chamber of the Court for contentious administrative proceedings decided to declare the resolution of 2014, "null for being illegal", a resolution which had approved the EIA submitted by the company Luz Eólica de Panamá.

Panama: Building Permits Suspended in San Francisco

March 2016

The measure will be maintained until an infrastructure report is prepared in the district to develop a proper urban planning strategy.

The Directorate of Works and Construction at the Municipality of Panama will not be able to temporarily approve building permits in the district of San Francisco.

Panama: No to Fuel Terminal

August 2014

A resolution approving the environmental impact study submitted by Vertikal Corporation to build a pipeline to supply Tocumen airport has been revoked.

The National Environmental Authority (ANAM) reversed the decision claiming that the environmental impact study submitted by the company Vertikal Corporation should be category III not II, as "...

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