CEC Council instructs the Secretariat to develop a factual record on the Ex Hacienda El Hospital submissions

Montreal, 22 June 2012—The Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) announced today that it has voted in favor of instructing the CEC Secretariat to prepare a factual record for consolidated citizen submissions SEM-06-003 (Ex Hacienda El Hospital II) and SEM-06-004 (Ex Hacienda El Hospital III).

Consolidated submissions SEM-06-003 and SEM-06-004, filed with the Secretariat on 17 July and 22 September 2006, respectively, were presented by nine residents of the Mexican community Ex Hacienda El Hospital, represented by Myredd Alexandra Mariscal Villaseñor, and Roberto Abe Almada (the “Submitters”). The Submitters assert that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental law with respect to the operation, closing and decommissioning of a pigment production plant operated by BASF Mexicana, S.A. de C.V. (BASF), located in the Ex Hacienda El Hospital site in Cuautla, Morelos.

On 10 January 2007, Mexico filed a response to the submission in which it maintains that it ordered actions to evaluate and restore contaminated soils at the BASF plant, that it levied fines on the company for its noncompliance, and that it closed the property to ensure site remediation efforts.

After considering the submission in light of Mexico’s response, the Secretariat considers that central questions remain open concerning the investigation and prosecution of environmental crimes, the alleged illegal burying of waste in the ground at the facility during its period of operation, and the deposit of waste from the dismantling of the BASF plant in the Ex Hacienda El Hospital community.

On 15 June 2012, the Council, by means of Resolution 12-03, unanimously decided to instruct the Secretariat to develop a factual record in accordance with NAAEC Article 15(2). The Secretariat is currently drafting its overall work plan for development of the factual record.

For more information, please visit the CEC’s Citizen Submissions on Enforcement Matters web page and the registry of consolidated submissions SEM-06-003 and SEM-06-004.