Environmental Organization Fails to Stop Mayan Train Construction
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Environmental Organization Fails to Stop Mayan Train Construction

Photo by:   Drew Farwell
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Fernando Mares By Fernando Mares | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Thu, 02/09/2023 - 16:42

The environmental organization Selvame del Tren announced that Yucatan’s First District Judge, Fernando Novelo granted a definitive construction suspension of Section 5 of the Mayan Train, but the government body in charge of the development said this information was inaccurate.

On Feb. 07. 2023, Selvame del Tren reported that Judge Novelo granted a definitive suspension to both the northern and southern areas of the Mayan Train’s Section 5, which goes from Cancun to Tulum. According to the organization, the suspension comes from an amparo issued in 2022 requested by Selvame del Tren and other environmental organizations. The associations accused the project did not carry out the required environmental studies and fails to comply with Mexican environmental law. “Selvame del Tren celebrates this decision since it suspends an illegal project that affects Mexico’s natural heritage,” the organization said on its Twitter account. 

Nevertheless, Fernando Vázquez, Speaker, the National Fund for Tourism Development (FONATUR), which oversees the project, denied Selvame del Tren’s information was correct on Feb. 8, 2023. Vázquez said the judge’s decision is aimed to protect the flora in areas for which FONATUR had not filed to change the soil use. “But the reality is that we have all the permits and authorizations. Currently, we are developing the railway embankment and other infrastructure works,” Vázquez said. 

Vázquez said that the Mayan Train construction is completely legal and it will continue despite Selvame del Tren’s accusations. He added that FONATUR has delivered all the required information to the environmental authorities.

FONATUR asserts that since the judge’s decision says that FONATUR cannot continue with logging works on the land that hosts Section 5, construction works themselves can continue. However, According to Selvame del Tren, some remaining areas must be logged, including Paamul, Cueva de Las Tortugas and Camino del Sol Areas in the Solidaridad municipality. 

Selvame del Tren has initiated other legal actions against the Mayan Train. The organization accused the government of lying in its response to the USMCA’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation, alleging the administration’s defense sustained using provisional authorizations is illegal and that the government did not deliver the required documents. Selvame del Tren also pointed out that the government declaring the Mayan Train as national security issue was a move to avoid complying with environmental regulations and speed up the construction of the project.

Photo by:   Drew Farwell

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