Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:
The Submitter asserts that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws with respect to the operations of a limestone quarry, which is allegedly causing damage to the Sumidero Canyon in Chiapas, Mexico.
In its submission, SEM-11-002 (Sumidero Canyon II), the Submitter asserts that a limestone quarry’s continued material extraction operation inside the Sumidero Canyon National Park is causing environmental damage to the canyon’s east face. The Submitter further asserts that the quarry operations are impairing the air quality in the community of Ribera de Cahuaré and, in particular, that air emissions of limestone particles are damaging children’s respiratory health. The Submitter also asserts that air monitoring efforts by local authorities have not provided reliable data on air quality.
Moreover, the Submitter maintains that despite repeated requests for information regarding the environmental impact authorization for the quarry operations, no follow-up response has been received and that the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales—Semarnat) has not published a management plan for the Sumidero Canyon National Park. The Submitter states that enforcement actions by the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente—Profepa) to control the quarry’s operations have been insufficient to address the matters raised by the Submitter.
In submission SEM-11-002 (Sumidero Canyon II), the Submitter refers to similar facts and alleged environmental law enforcement failures included in submission SEM-10-001 (Sumidero Canyon), which was terminated on 14 July 2010, due to the Submitter’s failure to provide the Secretariat with a revised submission. The Submitter is the same in both submissions concerning Sumidero Canyon.
Summary of the response provided by the Party:
Mexico states that there are three pending proceedings initiated by the Submitter that meet the NAAEC Article 45(3) definition of judicial or administrative proceeding. Consequently, Mexico requests the termination of the submission only as regards the assertions relating to air pollution and environmental impact.
The Party further contends that some of the cited environmental law provisions are not applicable to the company Cales y Morteros del Grijalva, S.A. de C.V., since limestone extraction is not considered a mining activity in the Mexican legal system. The Party further states that other provisions merely establish a catalogue of activities permitted in protected natural areas, or cannot be directly applied to a work or activity.
Concerning the Order creating Cañón del Sumidero National Park, Mexico states that it is currently being amended to establish a management program that will be a suitable instrument with which to define the limits of acceptable change (LAC) and the carrying capacity of the Park. In addition, it argues that the provisions governing the preparation and issuance of a management program are not applicable, since their application would give them retroactive effect.
Mexico acknowledges that the facilities of the company Cales y Morteros del Grijalva, S.A. de C.V. are located entirely within the protected natural area in question, which is why Mexico has initiated administrative proceedings to correct and sanction legal non-compliance by the company.
Mexico concludes that the development of a factual record in regard to the assertions made in the submission is not necessary.
Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:
Articles 28, 47, 64, and 170 of the General Act on Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection; Article 7 of the Environmental Law of the State of Jalisco; Mexican Official Standard NOM-025-SSA1-1993 less than 10 microns (PM10). Permissible level for the concentration of particles of diameter less than 10 microns (PM10) in ambient air, as a means for protecting the health of the population; Mexican Official Standard NOM-081-ECOL-1994 which establishes the maximum permissible levels for noise emissions from stationary sources and the method for measuring them.
Comité Pro-Mejoras de la Ribera Cahuaré
The Secretariat received a submission and began a preliminary analysis of it under the guidelines.
Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 29/11/2011
Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 29/10/2011
The Secretariat notified the submitter(s) that the submission did not meet all of the Article 14(1) criteria and the submitter(s) had 30 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 10/05/2012
Other Documents - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 10/05/2012
The Secretariat received a revised submission and began to analyze it.
Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 11/06/2012
Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 12/06/2012
Under guideline 3.10, the Secretariat requested the submitter(s) to correct minor errors of form.
Other Documents - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 19/07/2012
The Submitters corrected the minor errors of form.
Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 11/06/2012
Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 24/07/2012
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 06/09/2012
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 27/11/2012
Other Documents - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 05/12/2012
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 15/11/2013
The Council voted to instruct the Secretariat to develop a Factual Record.
Resolution - Council decision concerning the development of a Factual Record authored by Council on 10/06/2014
Other Documents - Council decision concerning the development of a Factual Record authored by Council on 10/06/2014
The Secretariat placed a work plan on its web site or otherwise made it available to the public and stakeholders.
Workplan - Document related to the preparation of a Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 11/06/2014
The Secretariat posted a request for information relevant to the factual record on its web site.
Secretariat Information Request - Document related to the preparation of a Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 07/07/2014
The Secretariat submitted a draft factual record to Council, for a 45-day comment period on the accuracy of the draft.
The Secretariat received comments from Mexico.
The Secretariat received comments from Canada.
The Secretariat received comments from the United States.
The Secretariat submitted a final factual record to Council for Council's vote on whether to make the final factual record publicly available.
Council voted to instruct the Secretariat to make the final factual record publicly available.
Resolution - Council decision on whether the factual record will be made publicly available authored by Council on 18/12/2015
Final Factual Record - Final Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 17/09/2015