Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:

Submission SEM-15-001 (La Primavera Forest) was filed by two individuals in Mexico, asserting that the Santa Anita Hills housing development project is causing the destruction of a netleaf oak forest, and questioning the legality of the change in land use from forest to urban area and the construction of houses in the buffer zone of La Primavera Forest.

The Submitters maintain that the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales) and the State of Jalisco are failing to enforce provisions of the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y la Protección al Ambiente), the General Wildlife Law (Ley General de Vida Silvestre), the Federal Sustainable Forest Development Act (Ley Federal de Desarrollo Forestal Sustentable) and Jalisco’s State Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection Act (Ley Estatal de Equilibrio Ecologico y de la Proteccion al Ambiente).

Summary of the response provided by the Party:

On 21 April 2016, Mexico filed its response in accordance with NAAEC Article 14(3). In it, the Party asserts that the matters raised in submission SEM-15-001 ( La Primavera Forest) are the subject of pending proceedings initiated by the Submitters themselves, and for this reason, pursuant to NAAEC Article 14(3)(a) and section 7.5(a) of the Guidelines, requests the Secretariat to terminate processing of the submission. The information on pending proceedings included in the response refers to the legality of the forested land use change permit (CUSF—cambio de uso de suelo forestal) and is designated as confidential information in accordance with NAAEC Article 39(2).

Concerning the CUSF approval, Mexico contends that the federal authorities are competent to issue the land use change application in question and that it was processed and approved in conformity with the applicable law. Mexico states that the planned site of the Santa Anita Hills residential project is highly urbanized and outside the boundaries of Bosque La Primavera PNA, so that it is not comprised within the buffer zone of the PNA; that the area does not harbor any wildlife species protected by NOM-059; that the biological diversity of the area is not jeopardized, since it does not harbor a large population of flora and fauna; that the area does not comprise any ecosystem at risk of disappearing, and that a recommendation was made to include a fauna salvage plan as part of the project.

As for the transplanting of trees, the Party asserts that forest vegetation will be removed and transplanted but that these activities are a necessary and legal consequence of the CUSF approval. Mexico further states that the project was made conditional on a set of obligations relating to removal of forest vegetation.

Concerning the assertion of the CUSF’s invalidity due to impacts on forest vegetation caused by a forest fire, Mexico asserts that of a total of 10 hectares of treed land, only 1 hectare was damaged and, moreover, that it is not possible to ascertain from the submission that the affected area coincides with the project area.

As regards public participation in environmental matters, Mexico contends that it properly exercised its powers vis-à-vis public consultation and the processing of public complaints.

The Party asserts that no public consultation was held on the environmental impact statement because no relevant comments or requests were received, neither from citizens nor from state or municipal authorities; therefore, there was no failure to enforce the environmental law. Concerning the Submitters’ assertions in regard to public complaints, the Party responds that all the complaints received in connection with the matter addressed by the submission were consolidated and are being processed. Additionally, Mexico states that three administrative proceedings were opened against the construction company working on the project and that these were closed without any sanctions being imposed. It further indicates that the complaints filed with the Office of the Jalisco State Attorney for Environmental Protection (Proepa) were referred to the Office of the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) and to the municipality of Tlajomulco de Zuñiga and that the latter, as a safety measure, shut down urbanization work related to the project.

Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:

Submitter(s):

Sra. Juana Pérez Rodríguez
Some names withheld pursuant to Article 11(8)(a)

Submission Timeline

July 20, 2015

The Secretariat received a submission and began a preliminary analysis of it under the guidelines.

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 20/07/2015

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 20/07/2015

August 7, 2015

The Secretariat notified the submitter(s) that the submission did not meet all of the Article 14(1) criteria and that the submitter(s) had 60 days to provide the Secretariat with a revised submission that conforms with Article 14(1).

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) authored by Secretariat on 07/08/2015

November 2, 2015

The Secretariat received a revised submission and began to analyze it.

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 31/10/2015

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 02/11/2015

January 21, 2016

The Secretariat determined that the submission met the criteria of Article 14(1) and requested a response from the concerned government Party in accordance with Article 14(2).

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) and 14 (2) authored by Secretariat on 21/01/2016

April 21, 2016

The Secretariat received a response from the concerned government Party and began considering whether to recommend a factual record.

Party Response - Response from the Party under Article 14 (3) authored by Mexico on 21/04/2016

Acknowledgement - Other document authored by Secretariat on 22/04/2016

Other Documents - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 22/04/2016

November 4, 2016

The Secretariat informed Council that the Secretariat considers that the submission warrants development of a factual record.

Recommendation - Secretariat Notification to Council under Article 15(1) authored by Secretariat on 04/11/2016

April 4, 2017

The Council voted not to instruct the Secretariat to prepare a factual record.

Resolution - Council decision concerning the development of a Factual Record authored by Council on 04/04/2017

Other Documents - Council decision concerning the development of a Factual Record authored by Council on 04/04/2017