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News > Mexico

Mexico City Airport Project Haulted Over Environmental Risks

  • of Aeromexico is pictured inside Benito Juarez international airport in Mexico City, Mexico July 31, 2018.

    of Aeromexico is pictured inside Benito Juarez international airport in Mexico City, Mexico July 31, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 August 2019

The ministry of environment gave the go-ahead last month to tranform Santa Lucia air force base into a civil airfield, but a judge says there will be too many negative effects to the land, water, air.

A Mexican judge has suspended construction of the Santa Lucia International Airport just outside Mexico City on the grounds it will cause environmental damage. 


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"The 10th District Judge in the (central) State of Mexico granted a definitive suspension (of the airport’s construction) due to impact and consequences” on the environment, states the non-government organization, Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI) in a communique.

"The same decision was made last week by the Second Collegiate Court that ordered a provisional suspension based on” the environmental impact study of the project that was conducted and approved by the Ministry of Environment (Semarnat), said MCCI.

The judge in this case said the Semarnat environmental study, published July 25, recognizes that transforming the abandoned Santa Lucia air force base, located just north of Mexico City, into a civi airport will cause negative environmental effects on the cities of Zumpango and Tecamac, east of the projected airport site.

These potential damage includes logging of forests, uprooted flora and fauna and a decrease in water in the area that is home to the Zumpango Lagoon. The Semarnat acknowledged in its initial approval report that there would be an increase in air pollution in the region upon reconstructing the base.

The ruling is a setback for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) who had pushed for the military base to be made into an airport to replace the capital’s aging and small Mexico City Benito Juarez International Airport. The head of state advocated to transform the base, rather than constructing an entirely new civilian airport 

A final judgment still needs to be issued to ensure the construction doesn’t violate the constitutional article that protects for a healthy environment.

After a controversial citizen consultation held in October 2018, Lopez Obrador cancelled the new Mexico International Airport (NAIM) approved by the previous Enrique Peña Nieto administration that was 30 percent in progress in order to adapt the military base into a civil airfield.


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