Local June 4, 2013 | 8:26 am

Environment warns powerful Dominicans to leave National Park nicely

Santo Domingo.- Environment minister Bautista Rojas on Tuesday warned “powerful Dominicans” who contract Haitians to farm and make charcoal at Sierra de Bahoruco National Park to leave “in a nice manner,” and revealed that the forest rangers already have had to demolish 50 houses built to house traffickers.

“There are people who came from Constanza and San Jose de Ocoa to plant potatoes, after devastating there, now they come to the National Park,” he said.

“The authorities are behind the charcoal smuggling, everybody is involved in that traffic,” Rojas said.

Speaking in Hoy Mismo Channel 9, the official said the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park and the high and middle basins of the San Juan river will be totally recovered during Danilo Medina’s administration.

He said during the next four years “our goal is to stabilize the Yuna, San Juan River basins, in addition to consolidating the payment for environmental services,” in which subsistence farmers will be paid the minimum wage to help protect the forests, and noted that instead of vehicles, the programs will use mules.

He said those farmers will make RD$6,000 monthly as part of the crews to protect the forests.

He said the Environmental Police has orders not to arrest the little fish, “but to nab the owners of the trucks which transport the charcoal.”

Rojas said the cultural and sporting clubs will sponsor their own forests nationwide.

Loma Miranda

The official said the decision to deny a mining permit to Xstrata Nickel Falcondo was taken “to protect the interests of the Dominican Republic. He said Environment made the decision after conducting a thorough investigation into the planned mine.

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