Mexico’s approval of four mega resorts in the Gulf of California has several groups calling for an investigation.
The groups accuse the Mexican government of failing to enforce its own environmental laws.
Earthjustice attorney Sarah Burt says the massive tourism developments threaten fragile ecosystems and endangered species.
“The Mexican agencies responsible for enforcing these laws are really just looking the other way,” she says. “They’re allowing environmental impact assessments to be done piece-meal, so that they’re not taking a comprehensive look at all of the impacts.”
Known as the “World’s Aquarium,” Burt says the Gulf of California is considered one of the most diverse marine regions on the planet, and is home to thousands of species.
She says the approval of the projects – Cabo Cortes, Paraiso del Mar, Entre Mares and Playa Espiritu – threatens the unique coral reefs and mangrove ecosystems of the region, and endangered species such as humpback and gray whales, sea turtles, and many species of migratory birds.
She says that’s why the groups want any development to comply with the environmental safeguards that are in Mexican law.
“They’re not against development across-the-board,” she explains. “They just want to make sure that it’s done in a smart, sustainable way. And, complying with, you know, existing environmental safeguards that are on the books is a necessary first step.”
The coalition submitted the petition to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, which is an international body established under the North American Free Trade Agreement to promote cooperation among Canada, Mexico and the U.S. on environmental issues.