Victory for Baja’s Sea of Cortez

Following an amazing public outcry (millions of web hits and hundreds of thousands of tweets and emails over the past several weeks), Mexico’s SEMARNAT environmental agency has rejected the current Cabo Dorado development plan and environmental impact statement from the Chinese developers.The Chinese must now return to square one, completely redesign their proposal and development and draft a completely new environmental impact statement. This is a huge setback for them and a clear message that the tide is turning against irresponsible mega-developments in the Baja.

Here’s a link to the announcement (in Spanish): Inversionistas retiran Proyecto Cabo Dorado en BCS

Here’s a slightly jumbled machine translation of the story into English including quotes from a former minister of the environment:

MEXICO CITY, May 30 – Investors in Cabo Dorado Friday announced publicly that they were removing their application to the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the controversial tourism development intended to be built near the Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park in Baja California Sur.

In a letter sent to scientists and civil society to Excelsior, Victor Lichtinger Waisman, in charge of Semarnat during the administration of Vicente Fox Quesada, revealed that the American-Chinese consortium behind the project took this decision after considering as “devastating” the arguments in recent months against Cabo Dorado.

“And it has been thought that as the situation is not worth continuing in this environmental assessment process,” he said.

Lichtinger, who led the country’s environmental policy from 2000 to 2003, said the idea is to redefine the proposal and resubmit an EIA “totally new for approval of SEMARNAT.”

The Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resources stressed that his conviction that “any new proposals should be worked on completely different to what the promoters of this project have done so far, and the project should be radically different and of considerably less magnitude”.

Victor Lichtinger added that he recommended investors to withdraw all legal procedures and remedies of the previous project known as Cabo Cortés, as this only creates distrust and decreases the chances of having a proposal that “have a clear social license.”