San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Environment Ministry intervenes offices in charge of issuing gas station permits

Excessive delays in processing permits for construction or remodeling of gas stations led to the Environment Ministry (MINAE) intervening on Monday at the National Technical Secretariat (SETENA) and the Fuel Administration.

Those offices currently accumulate some 30,000 permit and supervision requests according to MINAE.

Environment Minister René Castro said the government has not set deadlines for solving the problem, and that the intervention was ordered by his ministry.

Castro said the idea is to lower inspection periods – which currently last years – to months. “The current time it takes to inspect gas stations is an average of 2-3 years,” he said.

The minister also said there will be no layoffs, but there will be relocations.

An intervention team at SETENA will be led by Vice Minister of Energy María Guzmán, who will be in charge for 90 days. Castro’s technical adviser, Ana Lucia Alfaro, will lead the team to intervene the Fuel Administration.

MINAE officials will suspend, during the 90-day intervention, the granting of constructing, remodeling and operating permits of gas stations.

Contact L. Arias at

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