Veracruz Port Expansion Threatens Mexican Forest Reserve

The Mexican government has approved mining activities that threaten the local biodiversity in the San Andres Tuxtla national forest reserve.

Several non-government organizations and civil society groups have started an online petition to gather signatures in order to prevent a mining project in the area of Balzapote in San Andres Tuxtla which is one of North America’s largest natural forest reserves.

Thus far, organizers have managed to collect over 700 signatures opposing the mining proposal. Biologists and environmental researchers from the region have expressed deep concern that the mining plans will pose a massive threat to the rich biodiversity that exists in the region.

An independent Environmental consultant in Veracruz Jorge Garcia Burgos told TeleSUR English, “Since this is a state forest reserve the mineral extraction activities violate environmental protection and private property laws.”

According to a spokeswoman from Roca Collective which is comprised of various regional civil society organizations the project will threaten more then 565 bird species, 140 mammals, 117 reptiles and nearly 100 butterflies that inhabit the local ecosystem.

Last year, the administration of Port Veracruz requested permission from the Mexican Ministry of Environment to carry out mineral extraction in the area of Balzapote for the use, processing, storage and transportation of the Basalt mineral which will be used as raw material for the construction of the Veracruz port expansion.

Last November, Mexico’s environment ministry approved the proposal paving the way for the project to be carried out.

The US$1.92 billion development project will include the construction of a new 2,800-meter dock followed by the second phase, which will consist of the construction of a new breakwater

“Government environmental officials are aware of the serious ecological impacts that the port expansion will have but they have orders from their superiors to carryout the project,” said Garcia Burgos.

The expansion of the Veracruz port will be one of the largest infrastructure projects to be carried out during Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration.

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