Image credits: Drew Farwell
News Article

Judge Suspends Construction of Mayan Train’s Section 5

By Fernando Mares | Wed, 08/03/2022 - 15:05

For the second time, a local judge in Yucatan ruled in favor of an environmental civil association that asked for a definitive suspension of the construction of the Mayan Train’s Section 5 for developmental irregularities and failure to comply with environmental regulation. 

Yucatan’s First District Judge Fernando Novelo ruled in favor of the Defending the Right for a Healthy Environment (DMAS) civil association, which asked for a definitive suspension of the works. According to DMAS, the National Fund for Tourism Development (FONATUR) did not have the required permit for the construction of the Mayan Train. The organization filed for the lawsuit on April 5, 2022. 

According to Section 5’s Environmental Impact Assessment (MIA), the developer should have implemented 26 preventive and mitigative environmental measures that included comprehensive waste management, soil conservation, reforestation and air quality studies, as well as flora and fauna management. These measures were not fully implemented by FONATUR, argued DMAS. 

The judge did not rule on the preventive measure promoted by DMAS on May 25, 2022, against the omissions of authorities to manage and request environmental and territorial planning-related permits. This expansion also included Sections 6 and 7. 

After the judge’s decision was made public, he scheduled a hearing for Aug. 5, 2022, to discuss whether he files a definitive amparo in favor of DMAS or not. A day later, Novelo rescheduled the hearing for Aug. 9, 2022. Novelo rescheduled the hearing to facilitate authorities delivering the requested report to President López Obrador, who recently labeled the Mayan Train as a matter of national security. 

On May 30, 2022, the same judge issued a suspension against the construction of Section 5 due to the lack of an MIA, a measure that López Obrador’s administration ignored. On July 19, 2022, López Obrador set Mayan Train works up to be a national security issue. According to the president, the time that works were stopped caused construction costs to rise. In addition, he said that amparos promoted by environmental organizations are financed by the US.

On Aug. 1, 2022, López Obrador’s decree for the expropriation of land for the Mayan Train was published in the Federal Official Gazette (DOF). The decree states that 36 lots would be acquired by the government, totaling 1.09 million m2. The landowners must be paid by the Ministry of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (SEDATU). López Obrador assured that despite the delays, the project would be ready in 2023 as promised.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
El Universal, El Financiero, La Jornada
Photo by:   Drew Farwell
Fernando Mares Fernando Mares Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst