Media Release

CEC Receives Submission on the Environmental Impact of the Tren Maya Project

Montreal, 21 July 2022 — Today, MOCE Yax Cuxtal, A.C., Grupo Gema del Mayab, A.C., Jaguar Wild Center, Red de Capacitadores Socio Ambientales, Selvame del Tren, Cenotes Urbanos and 19 individuals filed a submission under Chapter 24 of the United States- Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA/CUSMA) with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). The Submitters assert that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws to assess the environmental impacts related to the Tren Maya project (Segment 5-South) located in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

In submission SEM-22-002 (Tren Maya), the Submitters assert that the project did not undergo an adequate environmental impact assessment (EIA) process as required for this type of infrastructure project. In particular, the Submitters claim that Mexico failed to uphold the preventive nature of the EIA, asserting that by fragmenting the project in several segments, it fails to consider significant cumulative, synergic, direct, indirect and residual environmental impacts. The Submitters maintain that inadequate soil and geophysical studies fail to consider the fragility of the Yucatán Peninsula’s karst and soil, resulting in elevated risks of infrastructure sinking and fuel transportation accidents. The submission also points to the lack of risk assessment of fuel and maintenance shops and the failure to consider endangered species in the area.

The Submitters cite several national and international legal instruments, including the Mexican Constitution, the Escazu Agreement, the Pact of San José, the Protocol of San Salvador, the Rio Declaration, the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y la Protección al Ambiente); the General Law of Sustainable Forestry Development (Ley General de Desarrollo Forestal Sustentable); the General Wildlife Law (Ley General de Vida Silvestre), and the National Waters Law (Ley de Aguas Nacionales).

The Secretariat will review the submission within 30 days and determine whether it meets the requirements of USMCA/CUSMA Articles 24.27(2) and (3). To learn more, please consult the registry page for the submission SEM-22-002 (Tren Maya).

Submission filed under USMCA/CUSMA Chapter 24 asserts failure to enforce environmental law in Mexico to protect fragile ecosystems impacted by the Tren Maya project in the Yucatán Peninsula.

The CEC SEM Process

The CEC Submissions on Enforcement Matters process supports public participation, information-sharing between governments and the public, and transparency and openness in the effective enforcement of environmental law in North America. If you have reason to believe that an environmental law is not being effectively enforced by Canada, Mexico or the United States, the SEM process may address your concerns.

As of 1 July 2020, the CEC’s SEM process is governed by USMCA Articles 24.27 and 24.28 of the Environment Chapter of the free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States (CUSMA, T-MEC, USMCA).

Want to learn more about the SEM process? Please watch this two-minute video for an introduction:

The SEM Process