April 6, 2024
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Land-Use Change for Tulum’s Tren Maya Approved, Despite Environmentalists’ Opposition

TULUM, Quintana Roo – In a recent ruling, Judge Adrián Zepeda Novelo of the first district court in Yucatán dismissed the plea made by environmentalist organizations to halt construction on the fifth segment of the Tren Maya, which spans from Cancún to Tulum. This decision came after the General Directorate of Forest Management, Soil, and Ecological Planning of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources authorized the change of land use for 81 hectares of jungle, as stated in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

The judge’s resolution upholds the authorizations issued by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) on April 17th and May 15th, allowing the change of land use across a total of 81 hectares in the municipalities of Benito Juárez, Puerto Morelos, Solidaridad, and Tulum in Quintana Roo.

Judge Zepeda stated, “If the environmental government authority has deemed it viable to partially or completely remove forested vegetation or other forested land for the construction of the Tren Maya, based on the aforementioned land-use change authorizations, I cannot conclude that there is still an irreparable risk to nature without the presence of technical and scientific evidence to support such claims.”

Land-Use Change for Tulum's Tren Maya Approved, Despite Environmentalists' Opposition

Since January, this court has been aware of numerous requests for injunctions to halt the federal government’s flagship project due to concerns about irreversible environmental damage. Initially, provisional suspensions were granted as only the EIA was available. However, with the subsequent change in land use authorized by the government, Judge Zepeda concluded that there are no grounds for further suspensions.

“While the petitioner does have a legitimate interest in requesting a suspension of deforestation and clearing activities resulting from the construction of the Tren Maya’s Fifth Segment, it is currently deemed that no imminent or irreparable damage can be demonstrated with the execution of the project, given the issuance of the land-use change authorizations in forested areas,” the written statement affirms.

Land-Use Change for Tulum's Tren Maya Approved, Despite Environmentalists' Opposition

According to the ongoing work carried out by the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena) and private companies, a total of 3,873 hectares of forested land will need to be cleared across all seven segments of the Tren Maya. The sixth segment, spanning from Tulum to Chetumal, will have the highest intervention, requiring the clearance of 1,453 hectares.

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