Mexico: Is it legal to exploit protected areas?

182 natural reserves would be at risk of being destroyed to commodify their resources

Mexico: Is it legal to exploit protected areas?

In Mexico constructing and operating in natural protected areas could be legal. This is demonstrated by an initiative approved by the Senate known as the Biodiversity Act, legislation that, if approved in full, would allow the exploitation of natural resources and implementation of high-impact activities in natural preserved areas.

The legislative proposal promoted by the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (PVEM) gives the green light to the construction of mines, ports, dams, pipelines, among others, in places called Protected Natural Areas (ANP). Also it leaves open the possibility regarding mining in those areas, since not dictate concretely, illegal exploitation.

In addition to own concern about environmental deterioration that propitiate the aforementioned activities, the company has questioned the approval of the Fast Track project granted by the Senate with 88 votes in favor and only one against. When a law is passed in Fast Track, it means that verification was carried out at the last moment of the year, during the closure period and without regard to all affected parties.

This project has been widely criticized by citizens and 75 civil society organizations that expressed concern about the possible implementation of the General Law on Biodiversity. While such legislation has already been accepted by the Senate, still it needs to be ratified by the Chamber of Deputies then move to the Federal Executive.

Money: More valuable than Earth?

If the controversial bill gets through the filters established business interests of a few would be favored by allowing mining in 182 protected areas of Mexico. Exploitation would not only deteriorate the genetic and environmental resources of the planet, but also affecting indigenous populations living in the areas, who would be affected by the pollution itself mercantilist practices.

According to a study by the Center for Biological Research of the Northwest (CIBNOR), called Natural Protected Areas and Mining in Mexico: Perspectives and Recommendations, mining could be carried out in NPAs, would be directed primarily mining industrial and precious metals.

These practices are mostly openwork, causing environmental impacts such as river contamination with toxic substances or extinguishing water sources, logging, and removal of vegetation cover, in addition to emission to the atmosphere and the generation of high amounts contaminant debris.

According to the National Commission of Mexico, a body responsible for the analysis and protection of NPAs it indicates these areas are recognized as environmental areas where the nation exercises sovereignty and jurisdiction without penetrating or alter the natural environment, thereby preserving species and own habitats the region. The Aztec country has 182 NPAs, 63 of these would be located in areas where mining concessions would be allowed.

If the General Law on Biodiversity is approved, it would be annulled accordingly agreed in the current General Wildlife Act, which ensures the conservation of fauna and flora of the country, through the protection and sustainable use, without causing ecological imbalance or harming populations.


Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo

Translated from "México: ¿es legal explotar áreas protegidas?"

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