The Forest Department has confirmed with U.S. Capital Energy that it has decided to waive the expiration date of today, April 30, 2014, contained in the permit granted to the company to conduct petroleum exploration operations in the Sarstoon Temash National Park.
Because it was ordered to by Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana, the Government is proceeding to arrange for consultation with the Maya communities most affected by the work.
In a letter obtained by Plus News and co-signed by Chief Forest Officer Wilber Sabido and National Parks Administrator Hannah St. Luce-Martinez, they write that they consider it appropriate in their discretion, to defer deciding on the application for an extension until the outcome of the consultations is known, provided that the operations for which the permit is granted continue as they were not specifically stopped by Justice Arana.
Today, we spoke with attorney for U.S. Capital Michael Peyrefitte who explained the boundaries of the decision.
“It does not affect he operations at all. It means as the permit expressly states that US Capital is allowed to continue its operations”.
Reporter: “Which means pre explorations in advance of drilling which you said you will not do until you are completely clear of any legal obligations”.
Michael Peyrefitte: “Well, we are clear of all legal restrictions. The Court Hon. Justice Madam Arana. She declared very clearly in her judgment in the media who cared to read it, that the permit granted to US Capital is valid and she would not strike it down. She said then, US Capital is allowed to continue with its operations in part”.
Peyrefitte went on to restate his company’s intentions in the area.
Michael Peyrefitte: “US Capital cannot do anything and has never done anything without the expressed written permission of the government. So, we can’t do any operation without the expressed written permission of the government and we can’t do any operation if the Court stops us from operating. The latest court matter, the judge made very clear that she was not going to stop the operations; she had an opportunity to declare that the permit was not valid and she still said that it is valid. So, I don’t know where the confusion is”.
Attorney Peyrefitte says the company can only respect the elected leaders of each village. But is the company trying to gain favor by providing much needed infrastrucure? Here is Peyrefitte’s typically candid response.
Michael Peyrefitte: “If the company were to do nothing, just to go in there and drill for oil and leave, your question to me would say, well, Mr. Peyrefitte, how can the company just come in, drill oil and leave and not do anything to benefit the community? But the company goes in, one of its kindness is pave the roads, upgrades some facilities, donate some computers and its bribery. So, what we have learned is that US Capital is damned if it does and it is damned if it doesn’t So, the best thing for the US Capital to do is just to ignore the naysayers, the troublemakers, the ignorant and just proceed with what we have been legally mandated to proceed with”.