Senator Galvez: indigenous communities need water. Senator Gálvez: indigenous communities need water.

Work to start on airport aqueduct but NGOs warn it lacks environmental permit

And a senator claims indigenous communities must be consulted first

The Santa Lucía airport faces a new obstacle after two non-governmental organizations and a senator warned that an aqueduct to supply water to the airport doesn’t have environmental approval and the communities that will be affected haven’t been consulted.

The National Water Commission (Conagua) has indicated that it will start work without delay on an aqueduct that will carry water from the Mezquital valley in Hidalgo to the México state air force base site where the Defense Secretariat will build the new US $4.8-billion airport.

The Environment Secretariat granted conditional approval for construction of the airport late last month but the Mexican Center for Environmental Law and the Mexican Academy on Environmental Impact say the aqueduct project doesn’t have the environmental authorization it requires.

The two groups charge that the environmental impact of the project hasn’t even been considered, while National Action Party Senator Xóchitl Gálvez says that the indigenous communities in the Mezquital valley haven’t been consulted as required by the International Labor Organization’s Indigenous and Tribal People’s Convention.

“The new project . . . can’t be started without first consulting the people and communities . . .” she said.

The senator charged that the project is not viable because the communities in the area, located around 100 kilometers north of the airport site, are already suffering from a shortage of water.

“If Conagua guarantees that there is a surplus of water, they should send it first to the communities . . .” Gálvez said, adding that she will file a formal request in Congress to ask the water commission to present its technical studies for the project.

The Santa Lucía airport also faces staunch opposition, most notably from the #NoMásDerroches (No More Waste) Collective, which has obtained several injunctions against the project.

Just how many injunctions, or amparos, there are came up yesterday during the president’s morning press conference.

“Do you know how many injunctions there are now to detain Santa Lucía? 80. That’s excessive! . . . they’re only to stop us, to put the brakes on us.”

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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