Mexican President Decrees Automatic Project Approval | WGN 720 radio


MEXICO CITY (AP) – The administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday issued a broad decree requiring all federal agencies to give automatic approval to any public works project the government deems to be “in the national interest” or “involving national security”. ”

Order in Council released on Monday bypasses all environmental, liability and feasibility review processes, and gives regulators five days to grant a one-year “temporary” approval to anything the government wants. to build.

Agencies would then have one year to give their final approval, by which time projects would likely have already started.

López Obrador is known for building huge projects. For example, he has started to build a 1,500-kilometer 950-mile (1,500-kilometer) “Maya Train” line that will roughly loop around the Yucatan Peninsula.

Although the region is teeming with indigenous communities, jungles, wildlife and archaeological sites, the project was rushed with little consultation, feasibility studies or environmental impact studies.

But Monday’s Home Office decree would simply remove such requirements.

“It’s serious. It’s serious. We must resist this,” wrote security analyst Alejandro Hope on his Twitter account.

Leonardo Núñez, a researcher at the non-profit group Mexicans Against Corruption, called the decree “extremely dangerous”.

The decree specifies that “the projects and works carried out by the Mexican government related to infrastructure in the fields of communications, telecommunications, customs, borders, hydraulic works, the environment, tourism, health, roads of iron and all that relates to energy, ports, airports… are declared of public interest and national security.

López Obrador is a big supporter of fossil fuels and ordered the construction of a large oil refinery and the modernization of others.

But the Maya Train is perhaps his most ambitious endeavor. It is intended to link the Caribbean resorts to the interior of the peninsula, with largely indigenous populations and sites of ruins, with the aim of stimulating economic development around its 15 resorts. The government says it will cost up to $ 6.8 billion, but others say it will be much more.

Critics say López Obrador crashed into the project without a proper study of its effects on the environment, underground caves called cenotes, and ruin sites.

Some sections of the route already have tracks, and the institute said some artifacts were already disrupted by railway construction decades ago. But other sections must cross sensitive jungle terrain, although they run parallel to existing roads or transmission lines. Even where an old railway line exists, the project would involve updating the tracks and building new stations.

Some Mayan communities have filed legal challenges against the project, arguing that it will cause environmental damage. They also say they haven’t been consulted enough about it or won’t share its benefits.

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