President López Obrador has ruled out any possibility that a United States company will be allowed to proceed with a brewery project in Mexicali, Baja California, that the federal government halted after a referendum in March.
The government revoked Constellation Brands’ permits to operate the brewery after 76.1% of people who cast a vote on the controversial, partially built project opposed it due to concerns that it would threaten the local water supply.
During a visit to Mexicali on Friday, López Obrador once again asserted that the brewery will not be allowed to open and publicly instructed Environment Minister María Luisa Albores to ensure that is the case.
“The decision was taken that a permit allowing this plant to operate would not be granted and that [remains] the commitment. I say it here with complete clarity so that there is no disinformation. We keep our word; we’re not the same as the doublespeak, double-moral conservatives. Consistency is fundamental for us,” he said.
“A consultation was carried out and the people said … they didn’t want this brewery to be built and to operate due to the lack of water in Mexicali, in Baja California [and] in the north of the country,” López Obrador said.
The president’s remarks came after he said earlier this month that there was concern in the state that the brewery would be allowed to go ahead despite citizens’ emphatic rejection of it in the March referendum.
López Obrador told reporters at his morning news conference on November 19 that brewing companies should instead seek to produce in locations in Mexico’s southeast where water is far more abundant than in the country’s comparatively barren north.
If the Mexicali brewery project – where Constellation intended to brew Modelo brand beers for the United States market – was approved, Mexico would be exporting “water that we don’t have,” the president said.
“There has to be a completely different policy. [There should be] permits for … breweries but on the Grijalva and Usumacinta [rivers in Tabasco and Chiapas]. Look at how much water [they have],” López Obrador said.
“The permits can be given there because look at how the floods affect us [there]. But in the center and the north of the country there’s no water and what has to be guaranteed is that there is no shortage of water for human use, … that’s the first thing and in second place is agriculture.”
The US $1.4-billion project was about 70% complete when construction was halted in March.
Source: Reforma (sp)