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AMLO declares previous Mexico City airport site a protected natural area

Mexico City, Mexico — One day after the official opening of the new AIFA airport, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador declared the old site a protected area. During his Tuesday press conference, AMLO announced that the area known as Lake Texcoco is now a natural protected area.

Texcoco was the site where construction for the previous Nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional de México (NAIM) was being built until AMLO became president. One of his first orders of business was to hold a citizen consultation on the NAIM, which resulted in the halting of construction.

Instead, a new airport, Aeropuerto Internacional Felipe Ángeles (AIFA), was built at the Saint Lucia Military Base. The airport began operating March 21, as scheduled.

On March 22, when announcing protection for the Lake Texcoco site, he said “today is a historic day because what this decree does is rehabilitates, it recovers the protection plan for Lake Texcoco,” adding that there will also be a Lake Texcoco Ecological Park.

The president made it clear that urbanization on the 14,000 protected hectares will not be allowed. “The commitment is not to build anything, it is not to recover land for real estate businesses but to protect the environment.”

He said that ecotourism activities, ecological restoration, reforestation with native species, agriculture and livestock aimed at sustainability and use through management units for the conservation of wildlife and for the benefit of the communities will be allowed.

The Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources, María Luisa Albores González, highlighted the positive impact that the new legal provision will have on the largest water regulating vessel in the Valley of Mexico.

“The declaration recognizes the struggle of the peoples of the eastern part of the State of Mexico to defend their land, their dignity and their lives,” she said.

It was the three-day citizen consult in October of 2018 that resulted in the halting of construction on then-President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional de México (NAIM), with a majority of Mexican citizens voting against it.