The CFE's thermoelectric plant in Manzanillo has been accused of two oil spills into the Cuyutlán Lagoon. The CFE's thermoelectric plant in Manzanillo has been accused of two oil spills into the Cuyutlán Lagoon.

Colima seeks reparation for damages caused by CFE lagoon spills

Governor says electricity commission has ignored accusations of environmental, social damage

The governor of Colima wants the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) to explain the causes of two fuel oil spills in the Cuyutlán Lagoon and guarantee that such incidents do not occur again.

In addition, José Ignacio Peralta Sánchez has tasked the CFE with repairing the environmental and social damage caused by the spill and compensate fishermen and fish farmers for their losses.

The president met with fishermen and shrimp, crab and oyster farmers in Manzanillo who were affected by two fuel spills from the Manuel Álvarez thermoelectric plant on August 12 and 29.

Peralta said the damage occurred in a 500-meter-long area of mangroves, affecting the livelihood of 121 fishermen and 44 marine farmers. Birds and fish were killed in the spills.

María del Carmen Velasco Chávez, president of a Cuyutlán Lagoon fishing cooperative, said that members have not been able to work for the past 15 days due to damaged equipment and polluted waters.  

“The harvest or sowing cycle was lost along with all the food that it would have given us. We are talking about 3 million pesos [US $143,000],” Velasco said. “We cannot carry out our shrimp and fish farming because they are dying. The mangroves are where the fish reproduce, where they spawn, where they are protected from predators.”

Peralta said that for two weeks local CFE officials have not responded to his invitation to inspect the damage and called the lack of response unacceptable. “It is a matter of great importance because we are talking about a severe impact in many ways,” the governor said and announced that he would take the matter up with CFE director Manuel Bartlett. 

Fishermen from various cooperatives protested in front of the CFE facilities on September 2 and temporarily blocked access to the thermoelectric plant. 

Efforts have been made to have the CFE plant convert from fuel oil to less polluting natural gas since the Felipe Calderón administration, but they have been rejected due to the higher cost of natural gas.

Source: AF Medios (sp)

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