Mexican president’s multibillion-dollar ‘Maya train’ project hit by new law

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends a news conference at a military base in Apodaca, a suburb of Monterrey, Mexico, May 13, 2022.REUTERS/Daniel Bethel

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A Mexican court ruled on Monday to suspend construction of President Andres Manuel López Obrador’s flagship “Maya Train” railway project indefinitely over environmental concerns Activists welcome.

The 1,470-kilometer (910-mile) rail project was touted by Lopez Obrador as the cornerstone of his plan to develop the country’s poorer southern states, to connect tourist hotspots and promote Development of the Yucatan Peninsula.

According to a statement from the environmental group Defending the Right to a Safe Environment (DMAS), the court ruled that Mexico’s national tourism promotion fund (Fonatur)’s rail plan “does not comply with the environmental impact assessment process.” Who believes the project is causing deforestation and wildlife destruction.

The legal battle centers on the project’s 121-kilometer (75-mile) “Part 5” linking the resort cities of Cancun and Tulum in Quintana Roo, where construction was initially suspended in April due to a lack of environmental permits .

In a statement on Monday, Fonatur said it was confident it could “overcome” the indefinite shutdown, noting that the environment ministry was currently reviewing environmental applications for its multi-billion-dollar railway.

Fonatur said the court’s injunction against further construction was “only until the project’s environmental impact statement…is fully resolved”.

Still, the ruling is a setback for Lopez Obrador, who has pledged to complete the railway by the end of 2023, saying it has already created 105,000 jobs.

The government also recently clashed with environmentalists over the failure of an electricity reform bill that would increase investment in fossil fuels. [L1N2UK1I0]

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