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Judge suspends work on Playa del Carmen to Tulum section of Maya Train

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — A temporary suspension of work along Section 5 south of the Maya Train has been granted by a Yucatan court. The provisional suspension was granted after a group of three speleologists from Playa del Carmen filed a suit against Fonatur Tren Maya, Sedatu and Sedena.

The suit was filed after documenting the environmental damage being caused by the construction of that section of Playa del Carmen to Tulum train. The agencies named in the suit will need to provide a response to the allegations.

The suspension was handed down by the First District Court in Yucatan ordering work to be temporarily halted. “The execution of works related to its construction, infrastructure, removal or destruction of the biodiversity of the land or any other activity that implies its material execution” be suspended.

Studies are still under development, according to statements by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, however, the Environmental Impact Statement and the Justifying Technical Study have not been submitted to the Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure in charge of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), which violates the legal framework.

The federal government has also not obtained authorization regarding environmental impact and change of forest land use mandated by the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection.

The Amparo was filed on March 24 in the Ninth District Court by the civil association Defending the Right to the Environment based in Cancun on behalf of three speleologists.

However, it was filed in the First District Court in Merida due to an agreement with the Federal Judiciary Council that established that all matters promoted against the Maya Train will be resolved there.

In March of this year, Teresita Flota Alcocer, municipal secretary of Territorial Planning in Playa del Carmen said that the project had been pre-authorized, clarifying that “it is exempt from the Environmental Impact Statement for being a project of national priority.”

“Consent for use of the municipal land for the Maya Train was granted during a city council meeting. Since it is a priority project of the federal government, it has been pre-authorized,” she explained.

Being a national priority, the clearing of vegetation along the new Maya Train route does not require permission from Semarnat (the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources), she said.