CEC recommends factual record for Tourism Development in the Gulf of California submission

Montreal, 17 September 2014—On 5 September 2014, the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) notified the CEC Council that the preparation of a factual record is warranted in regard to submission SEM-13-001 (Tourism Development in the Gulf of California).

The submission, filed in 2013 by a group of organizations represented by the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) and Earthjustice, asserts that the development of four large tourism infrastructure projects on the Gulf of California is causing severe impacts on the El Mogote nesting area (in Bahía de La Paz), the Cabo Pulmo coral reef, and the Marismas Nacionales wetland (in Sinaloa and Nayarit).

After reviewing the submission in light of the response provided by the Government of Mexico, the Secretariat concluded that the preparation of a factual record is warranted in regard to the effective enforcement of environmental laws involving  environmental impact assessment, and the conservation, rational use, and exploitation of wetlands in connection with the CIP Playa Espíritu, Entremares, and Paraíso del Mar projects. The Secretariat also concluded that a factual record concerning the Cabo Cortés project is not warranted, its environmental impact authorization having been denied.

The Secretariat is now authorized to make this notification public. The Secretariat will develop a factual record if two or more members of the Council—the CEC’s governing body, composed of the highest-ranking environmental officials of Canada, Mexico, and the United States—so decide by 8 December 2014.

Articles 14 and 15 of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation(NAAEC) allow the CEC Secretariat to consider a submission from members of the public and nongovernmental organizations concerning the effective enforcement of environmental law by a NAAEC Party (Canada, United States, or Mexico). The CEC has published Guidelines for Submissions on Enforcement Matters explaining the steps in the process.