A Spanish hotel developer plans to build a new resort on protected coastal land in the Dominican Republic.Opposition by environmentalists prompted the government to order a temporary halt to the project in February pending the outcome of an assessment due later in March.Environmentalists say they fear that allowing the resort development to go ahead in what was once part of Cotubanamá National Park could open the door to more developments along the pristine beachfront.With elections due in May, one of the presidential candidates has backed the opposition and called for the dismissal of the environment minister for permitting the project in the first place. A coalition of environmentalists is fighting to prevent Spanish company Globalia from building an ecotourism resort bordering Cotubanamá National Park, one of the last remaining patches of pristine lowland rainforest in the Dominican Republic. The battle over the development has even reached the president’s office, raising concerns that tourism revenue is being prioritized over the preservation of an ecosystem crucial to the survival of endangered species and water availability to the region. “It has been hard to focus on anything else, when you know the bulldozers and a 150-man strong brigade is three minutes away from clear-cutting the forest we are trying to save,” says Yolanda Leon, a biologist and president of the local conservation NGO Grupo Jaragua. The organization has joined forces with 11 others in a coalition devoted to stopping the project. But resort developer Globalia says its plan is low-impact and eco-friendly. “We didn´t expect all this backlash, and we didn´t prepare for it,” says Miguel Uriondo, director of communications at Globalia. “For us, it stands to reason that environmentalists should be on our side … We still don’t fully understand why they are not celebrating a low-impact project that is in line with every global trend on eco-friendly tourism.” Globalia has dubbed the project Leaf Bayahíbe, referring to it as “a small but ambitious project of 96 rooms in wood cabins … with a minimal impact on the environment.” Uriondo describes plans to hire a team of botanists, ornithologists, herpetologists, archaeologists, as well as cave and marine experts, in an effort to ensure minimal impact on the surrounding environment.