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House Justifies US$900,000

first_imgDespite public outcry over Liberia’s poor infrastructure development program, the 53rd National Legislature has justified the usage of US$900,000 for the ongoing nationwide consultation on the Draft Petroleum Law of Liberia.The Executive Branch, through the National Oil Company of Liberia, (NOCAL) submitted a draft petroleum law intended to govern the oil and gas sector, a sector considered vital to Liberia’s emerging economy.The Liberian Senate had since held public hearings on the subject and subsequently passed and communicated the draft legislation to the House of Representatives for concurrence.In an attempt to take a legislative decision, the House of Representatives opted to have “a nationwide consultation before voting on the matter.”“The intent,” Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue saidMonday, November 11, “is to have inclusive participation of the locals and all county officials.”“US$900,000 is the budget for the consultation,” he said. Quizzed as to whether the budget was drawn from the Legislature’s budget line or NOCAL, Deputy Speaker Barchue added “go and check the budget.”Interestingly, the approved National Budget for the Fiscal Year 2013/2014 has no reference to ongoing National Consultation, where said amount came from remains unclear.According to the Grand Bassa County Representative, the Draft Legislation discusses several issues ranging from Liberians’ participation in the oil and gas sector, to better royalties for the counties and communities where crude oil deposits are found amongst other things.However, political commentators have criticized the Legislature for failing to incorporate therecommendations and input of locals relative to national issues. They argued that the Legislature had ignored public interest on several pivotal issues.They name confirmation of public officials, the Decent Work Bill, the Code of Conduct, and most importantly, the passage of Oil Block 13, a concession awarded to Exxon Mobile to operate in Rivercess County, as some legislations where the public interest and right to participate had been ignored.“Government has failed to provide housing units for low income dwellers. Spending such a huge amount of money on a mere consultation where the people’s views will not be reflected in the documents is unfortunate. That money could go towards improving our poor roads or building educational and medical facilities,” some political and legislative commentators told the Daily Observer yesterday in MonroviaMeanwhile, the second leg of the consultation goes to Western Liberia with some members of the Senate, which already passed the draft legislation, expected to form part of the delegation.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Activists protest zoo plans

first_imgBoth Villaraigosa’s office and Los Angeles Zoo General Manager John Lewis promised an exhibit either at, or under, budget. “Our intent is not to spend every nickel, but to build the best exhibit possible,” Lewis said. “It’s going to be one of the best for the animals and the public.” Lewis said the exhibit, likely to contain between six and eight elephants, would likely be finished by mid-2008. Critics, however, say the cost estimate doesn’t include $8.5 million in debt service on the 20-year city loan or the cost of relocating animals to make more space for elephants. “Some of this money can be used for police protection, programs for seniors, traffic signals and fixing the parks as well,” Doyle said. Last week, Bob Barker, animal activist and host of “The Price Is Right,” addressed City Hall to recommend a sanctuary. On Monday, “Stand By Me” actor Corey Feldman weighed in outside City Hall. “It’s simply not big enough; it’s simply not fair,” the actor said. “The price is wrong,” added Councilman Dennis Zine, who advocated a sanctuary. “The $40 million is too expensive.” Councilman Tom LaBonge, however, said it would be money well spent. “It’s for the children,” he said. “What are cities for? There’s no question that it’s expensive, but the elephants deserve this commitment, to have a world-class zoo.” – City News Service contributed to this report. [email protected] (818) 713-3730160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventOnce forecast to cost $19 million for two acres, the proposed Elephants of Surin would increase the animals’ space from a half-acre to 3 1/2 acres and add lush forests, grassland, ponds and even waterfalls. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who once promised animal-rights activists that he would retire city elephants to an accredited sanctuary, might endorse the exhibit instead. “He is encouraged by the council’s support of 5-to-1 last week,” said Joe Ramallo, a spokesman for the mayor. “Ultimately, the decision by the mayor and the council is in the best interest of the elephants.” Plans call for the project to be financed with $17.7 million in park bond funds and $14 million borrowed from the city’s Municipal Investment Corp. The remaining cost would be covered by $4.5 million given by the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association and a $2.3 million private gift. It’s billed as the ultimate elephant exhibit: a world-class animal house and habitat for three elephants at the Los Angeles Zoo. But some critics say the proposed pachyderm exhibit, to be considered by the City Council on Wednesday, will cost far more than the $39 million cited by the city. “I think it’s going to cost an easy $50 million,” said Catherine Doyle, founder of Los Angeles Alliance for Elephants. “I don’t think the taxpayers in Los Angeles will find this acceptable.” Doyle was one of several animal-welfare activists to campaign Monday to cancel the exhibit and send the city’s three elephants to an accredited sanctuary. Last week, two city committees voted overwhelmingly to endorse the proposed exhibit. last_img read more

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