Oil Port Threatens Mangroves in Mexico

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The project presented by a private entrepreneur to build an oil port in Campeche would eliminate 30 hectares of mangrove, a unique ecosystem in a Protected Natural Area, under the argument of the “oil reactivation of the Energy Reform”. Sputnik spoke with the journalist who announced the project.

Daniel Sánchez is a journalist and responsible for the site page66.MX where he published the project documents that businessman Arturo Dorantes Garza, from Nuevo León, presented to the Environment Secretariat in February of this year, requesting authorization to build the megaproject.

According to the official documents published by Sánchez, Dorantes Garza plans to build over 240 hectares of the “Laguna de Términos” Protected Area (86 hectares of land and 154 hectares of land), a port that includes a remote terminal with three services docks, two jetties and one dock of ciaboga; as well as an 800-meter viaduct that connects the terminal with the coastline and dredges a navigation channel that is 97 meters wide and 7.5 meters deep.

The project is called “Port Development Nuevo Campechito” and as reported by the journalist from Ciudad del Carmen, the businessman appealed for support for his project the Energy Reform (which liberalized the extraction of oil in Mexico during the Government of Enrique Peña Nieto) and also mentioned the installation of a Special Economic Zone (ZEE) announced by the president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The Program of Management of the Protected Area “Laguna de Términos” pointed out the journalist, prohibits “modifying the topography and hydrodynamics of the area, generating barriers and / or physical barriers of any kind” in the maritime zone; while the affected terrestrial zone is occupied by a virgin mangrove, a unique ecosystem of great biological richness.

“Together with the Reserva de Pantanos de Centla, in Tabasco, both bring together the greatest richness in wetlands in Mesoamerica, they are also the most affected by the oil activity, which is causing the death of manatees,” journalist Daniel Sánchez told Sputnik.

In the area, there is also shrimp, crab and the protected species of stork jabiru. Díaz explained that after the Energy Reform, oil activity fell throughout Mexico and also in Campeche, where it is estimated that 30,000 workers were dismissed and a large part of the industrial activity was paralyzed by the fall in international prices and the decline in local production…

“Now we are talking about a reactivation, which cites this private project, of the activities that will be carried out in the coming years in this area of the country, in the Sonda de Campeche (what Pemex calls ‘shallow waters’) where the last figure It indicates that in July 2018, 1,520,000 barrels of oil were extracted daily, “the reporter told Sputnik.

In 2013, oil production in this area averaged 1,896,000 barrels per day. Sanchez explained that off the coast of the states of Campeche and its neighbour, Tabasco, in the Gulf of Mexico, the company Pemex discovered deposits of light crude oil that could be extracted to feed the refineries that AMLO announced to build.

However, in his last visit to Campeche, the future president only mentioned the construction of a refinery in Dos Bocas, Tabasco, among his priority infrastructure projects, and said nothing about a second refinery in Atasta, Campeche, the zone of a private port that mentions this note.

“This light oil would serve for this new plant that is announced in Tabasco, for the area this will generate greater environmental contamination, there is a record of oil spills in the platform area of the Sonda de Campeche,” Daniel Sánchez told Sputnik.

The journalist, who has 30 years of experience in the trade, recalled that there are spills in this area since 1976. The most recent was the tragedy in 2007 on the Usumacinta oil platform, in which 22 workers were killed as a result of an oil leak and gas.

Oil Port Threatens Mangroves in Mexico

At the request of the Marea Azul organization, the Environment Secretariat (Semarnat) opened a public consultation on the Internet during the first 23 days of August and now the process must continue with a public hearing. However, Sánchez explained, the official study was stopped on August 16 last.

“If the promoting company accepts and makes the changes that Semarnat is requesting, it can reactivate the environmental authorization process, so it has not finished being a threat to the Laguna de Términos Natural Protected Area,” Sanchez told Sputnik.

Marea Azul pointed out that there are several studies that show that the Atasta Peninsula, where Dorantes Garza promises an investment of 1,500 million pesos (more than 82 million dollars), presents an accelerated rate of coastal erosion due to climate change. It is expected that between 2030 and 2050 the area where the oil port is to be installed will be submerged below sea level.



Source: Mundo Sputnik News