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Media Release

CEC Secretariat Releases Factual Record on Metrobús Reforma in Mexico City, Mexico

Montreal, 28 July 2023—On July 5, 2023, the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) made public the Metrobús Reforma Factual Record after the CEC Council voted unanimously in favor of its publication. The factual record is the final step in the CEC’s Submissions on Enforcement Matters (SEM) process, which allows individuals, organizations, and entities across North America to raise concerns about the enforcement of environmental laws by Canada, Mexico or the United States.

The factual record is based on a 2018 submission filed by two NGOs, Academia Mexicana de Derecho Ambiental and La Voz de Polanco, which asserted that Mexican federal authorities, the government of Mexico City, and three of its boroughs were failing to effectively enforce environmental laws with respect to construction permits granted for Line 7 (Reforma) of the bus rapid transit system (“Metrobús”) in Mexico City.

In its decision to provide instructions for the development of the Metrobús Reforma Factual Record in December 2020, the CEC Council directed the Secretariat to prepare this factual record on various alleged deficiencies of the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project.

In the Metrobús Reforma Factual Record released on July 5, the Secretariat’s review of publicly available information disclosed the following:

  • The Mexico City Ministry of the Environment (Secretaría del Medio Ambiente—Sedema) conditionally approved the construction of Line 7 of Metrobús (“Metrobús Reforma”), making site preparation and construction work conditional upon the filing and approval of outstanding, required documentation (project narrative, maps of terminals, required investment, forest survey, overall view of project, solid waste management plan, and air emissions estimates for the construction, operation, and maintenance phases, among other items).
  • The Secretariat found that the project developer, the Mexico City Ministry of Works and Services (Secretaría de Obras y Servicios—Sobse), submitted some of the required documentation to Sedema in late 2016 and early 2017. In April 2017, Sedema found some of that documentation to be insufficient and determined that work could not begin until the deficiencies were corrected.
  • The Secretariat was unable to determine the exact date when the Metrobús Reforma project started, as several dates are mentioned in publicly available documents (1 December 2016, 23 January 2017, and 30 January 2017). The Secretariat was unable to identify any additional information that might substantiate Sobse’s compliance in late 2016 or early 2017 with the condition of filing all required documentation to commence the work in accordance with the environmental impact permit issued by Sedema.

The complete factual record can be found on the public Registry of Submissions on the CEC’s website.

This submission and factual record were processed and developed under the SEM process established by the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, the environmental side agreement to NAFTA. As of July 1, 2020, it should be noted that submissions are now processed in accordance with the provisions of the USMCA/CUSMA, in effect as of the same date.

Mexico City Traffic showing five metrobuses

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