Conservationists Battle Maya Exploration

- Tuesday, February 16, 1999

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Conservationists from several international organizations have launched a campaign - with the support of many local citizens - against proposed oil and gas exploration within Guatemala's Maya Biosphere, in the country's northern Peten region. Guatemala's government sold exploration concessions on seven blocks in the Peten last year, some of which encroach on the Maya Biosphere reserve. Two oil companies, Argentina's Perez Companc and the US' Union Pacific, expressed interest in exploring on two blocks covering 330,000ha within the Biosphere, which contains tropical flora and fauna and protects dozens of Maya and other Native American archaeological sites. The anti-exploration campaign is being coordinated by the Red de Alerta Petrolera Oilwatch Mesoamerica environmental group.

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