The opening of ANWAR to drilling by President Donald Trump was a major loss for environmentalists. My views in favor of preserving such areas are well known. However, the opening up of the entire coastline of the United States has angered even Republican governors and politicians. The position of the White House is that the drilling is too valuable to pass up, but now tiny Belize has shown the alternative view: the nation has permanently suspended oil operations in its ocean waters to protect the ocean.
For a developing country to forego such revenue shows a tremendous commitment to the environment. It also reflects that, unlike drilling, eco-tourism is a stable and profitable industry, particularly when you are sitting on the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage site. The reef not only brings in tourists but is the main food source for the island.
As we have discussed, the Australians took the pro-development approach under a prior administration on the Great Barrier Reef to the outrage of many around the world.