Tuesday, June 18, 2024

New airport halted until environmental approvals in place

A federal judge yesterday ordered the definitive suspension of the new airport in México state until all necessary environmental permits have been obtained.

The court order is the second against the US $4.1-billion Santa Lucía project after a provisional suspension order was issued last week.

Both court orders were issued in response to injunction requests filed by the #NoMásDerroches (No More Waste) Collective, a group made up of civil society organizations, law firms and more than 100 citizens.

The collective said in a statement that the definitive suspension order obliges authorities to refrain from continuing with the construction of the airport until permits have been obtained that guarantee that the project will not damage the environment or threaten any relics located at the air force base site.

“The injunction granted by the federal judge seeks to protect the environment and assets [of] . . . archaeological, historical and paleontological heritage . . .” #NoMásDerroches said.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History said this week that the remains of mammoths, saber-toothed tigers and other prehistoric megafauna are buried beneath the ground at the airport site.

The #NoMásDerroches Collective acknowledged that the suspension order is subject to legal challenge by the government but is confident that it will be respected while it remains in force.

“If the government moves a brick, the official who does so will be committing a crime,” said Gerardo Carrasco, a lawyer for Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI), one of the collective members.

After the first suspension order was issued, Communications and Transportation Secretary Javier Jiménez Espriú said that work at the airport can’t stop because it hasn’t even started, adding that he expected environmental approval to be granted by the end of the month.

He said the government “completely agrees” that construction cannot begin until the relevant permits have been issued.

The secretary said that he hoped the project won’t have to stop once it is under way but with #NoMásDerroches having filed a total of 147 injunction requests against the airport, that remains a real possibility.

The collective is also pushing for a review of the legality of the cancelation of the new Mexico City International Airport and has indicated that it may challenge other government infrastructure projects.

In addition to MCCI, other collective members include the Mexican Employers Federation, the Mexican Human Rights Commission and the General Council of the Mexican Legal Profession.

By handing down a second ruling against the airport project, “the federal judicial power once again demonstrates to citizens that it is a real counterweight to hasty and unjustified decisions of the executive power,” the group said.

Source: El Financiero (sp), El Economista (sp), El Universal (sp) 

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