The international beverage company Constellation Brands is fighting off another attempt to stop the construction of its US $1.5-billion brewery in the Mexicali valley in Baja California.
The company has filed a legal challenge against a decision by state electoral authorities to allow a public consultation on the brewery project, demanding it be suspended.
A civil organization had filed a request for the plebiscite on December 9 to gauge public opinion on the controversial brewery.
A ruling is expected before the end of the month on the company’s challenge of the vote, which would be held next June.
Constellation spokesman Julio Portales said if the vote goes against the brewery it will mean having to dismantle $700 million worth of investment and go elsewhere. The amount represents what the company will have invested by June 1.
He warned that foreign investors would think again before investing in Mexico if the brewery is forced to move.
“If on June 1 the citizens vote that we move, imagine the signal we are sending to the world, to all the investors on the planet: that in Mexico your investment can be put to a vote . . . .”
A state senator agrees. Gina Cruz Blackledge has described the consultation as politically motivated and warned it would scare off investment. She said there are studies showing the brewery does not pose a threat to the Mexicali valley.
But critics charge that high water consumption by the brewery will affect the drinking water supply. Naturally, Constellation disputes that.
It claims its annual water consumption will be 1.8 million cubic meters, which the company says is equivalent to the amount of water extracted from one of more than 2,000 wells in the valley.