San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Fast-Track Marina Bill Deemed Unconstitutional

The Constitutional Chamber of the  Supreme Court (Sala IV) struck down a bill Tuesday that would simplify the steps for building marinas and coastal tourist attractions.

The bill, which would make it quicker and easier for companies to build and administer marinas and tourist attractions at Costa Rica’s ports, aims to issue operation permits to contractors before the results of a project’s environmental impact study are complete.

Sala IV judges decided this element of the bill is “a violation of the right to a healthy environment and of the rights of the population who could eventually be affected by such a concession.”

José Merino, a legislator for the leftwing Broad Front Party, presented the constitutionality query to the Sala IV on Oct. 7. He called Tuesday’s ruling a “triumph for the environmental movement.”

The decision marks the second time the bill has been deemed unconstitutional by the Sala IV. In October 2008, the constitutional court justices ruled against the project for the same reasons.

Merino said that since the 2008 result, the wording of the bill has not changed.

–Mike McDonald

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