San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Phone Towers Get Go-Ahead In Nation’s Protected Areas

THE Constitutional Chamber of theSupreme Court (Sala IV) has rejected arequest for an injunction to ban theinstallation of telecommunications towersin the country’s protected areas.The Costa Rican Federation forEnvironmental Conservation (FECON)last year requested an injunction fromthe high court against a decree issued bythe Ministry of Environment and Energy(MINAE) in 1997 allowing the installationof telecommunications towers, suchas cellular phone towers, in protectedareas.According to FECON president IsaacRojas, these towers are eyesores and produceenvironmental damage.“Their principal impact is that whenthey are going to be built, it’s necessary toclear space for them,” Rojas told The TicoTimes, adding he is also worried thatallowing their installation could become a“gateway” for other projects in protectedareas.Though the Sala IV rejected theinjunction, FECON’s action was notentirely futile, according to Rojas.The court ordered the EnvironmentMinistry to start searching for “moretechnologically advanced mechanisms toallow the adequate diffusion of communicationswhile reducing installation oftelecommunications towers to seek amore harmonious coexistence withnature,” in preparation for populationgrowth and the need to broaden telecommunicationscoverage.The Costa Rican Electricity Institute(ICE) installs most of the telecommunicationstowers in the country, according tothe daily La Nación.The institute recently placed a cellulartower on the outskirts of BraulioCarrillo National Park to provide a signalon the highway from San José to theCaribbean-slope town of Guápiles, thedaily reported.

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