The Hyundai plant in Tijuana. The Hyundai plant in Tijuana.

Governor accuses environmental agency of giving Hyundai a free pass

Neighbors complained that the plant was emitting toxic lead-containing gases

Baja California Governor Jaime Bonilla Valdez has publicly accused the environmental protection agency Profepa of being corrupt after a Tijuana car manufacturing plant that was closed due to reports of pollution reopened only a day later.

He said that the agency cares more for the interests of the South Korean auto maker Hyundai, which citizens have denounced for emitting toxic gases, than it does for the health of people and the environment.

“Profepa is totally corrupted. It’s a shame that it has sold out. It does not care about the interests of the people, but rather the interests of its own pockets,” he said.

The Hyundai plant in the community of Maclovio Rojas was closed on Monday after neighbors complained that gases containing lead emitted by it were negatively affecting the health of students at a nearby school.

The plant was promptly reopened and functioning normally on Tuesday.

“The Hyundai company reestablished its operations without any justifications, and we are not going to let up on this issue,” Bonilla said.

He said that the Hyundai plant had promised to present a “contingency plan” to prevent the emission of pollutants into the environment before reopening.

Speaking on other allegedly corrupt behavior by Profepa in the region, federal delegate Jesús Ruiz Uribe said that construction companies continue to illegally extract sand and aquifer water in Tecate.

He said that the agency “has not done the corresponding inspections of those construction companies for the environmental impact” of their actions.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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