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Mexico resumes construction of presidential tourist train

#Mexico #resumes #construction #presidential #tourist #train

Mexico has resumed construction of part of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s flagship tourist train project, an official said Monday, even though a judge suspended construction of that section over environmental concerns.

In late May, a judge indefinitely suspended construction of part of the Mayan train in the Yucatan Peninsula.

The ruling followed a legal challenge from opponents, including divers concerned about the move’s impact on wildlife, caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

But construction resumed on July 13 under a measure introduced in November that deemed the government’s key infrastructure work “national security.”

Under this ordinance, Lopez Obrador intends to protect the train and other projects from lawsuits that have delayed construction, as well as expedite obtaining permits and licenses.

The Mayan train “is a national security work because of the railroads,” said Javier May, head of the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, on Monday.

Public safety and home affairs departments are committed to restarting construction on the 60-kilometer section between the resort towns of Playa del Carmen and Tulum, May said.

By the end of 2023, Lopez Obrador hopes to inaugurate the roughly 1,500-kilometer rail loop that connects popular Caribbean beach resorts and archaeological ruins.

In the May ruling, the federal judge cited the “imminent threat” of “irreversibly damaging” ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental organization Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment

Authorities were found to have failed to conduct the necessary environmental impact studies before beginning construction on the section, one of several being built by the military, the NGO said in a statement.

The government appealed the decision.

On Monday, environmental groups Greenpeace and Save Me from the Train separately warned that the Mexican government had resumed work without waiting for the appeals process to be completed, which they say violates the law and poses a major risk to the ecosystems of the country represents Riviera Maya.

Lopez Obrador has insisted the railroad will not affect the cenotes, claiming environmentalists have been infiltrated by “crooks”.

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