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CEMDA logoCongratulations to ELAW advocate Alejandra Serrano and her team at the Mexican Environmental Law Center for their work defending communities and Mexico’s Riviera Maya!

ABC News reports:

“Mexican environmental authorities have levied a $555,000 fine against a project to build a massive trade center south of Cancun to showcase Chinese products. The Attorney General for Environmental Protection said late Thursday the fine was for building roads through wetlands and affecting coastal ecosystems without authorization.”

“The communities are saying enough is enough with out-sized development on the coast,” says Alejandra.  “This fine is a good first step. Our case is pending and we hope the Ministry of Environment will apply the new law of environmental responsibility and follow up on the criminal acts exposed in this case.”

Last year, ELAW Staff Scientist Meche Lu reviewed the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and revealed that the EIA lacked information about the scope and size of the project, the location of coastal wetlands within the project area, the impact of paving on the water quality of coastal wetlands, and more.

For more information, see:

We will keep you informed of our progress protecting the Yucatán Peninsula. Thanks for your interest!

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director

 

Our partners at the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) achieved an important victory for Jamaicans and the environment.  JET challenged the government’s construction of a new road on the Palisadoes tombolo, a narrow spit fringed with mangroves, sand dunes, and rare, native plant species.  It is also a sea turtle nesting beach.  Palisadoes connects Kingston and the mainland to the Norman Manley International Airport and the historic town of Port Royal. The strip forms part of the Palisadoes-Port Royal Protected Area and has been declared a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention.

A section of the Palisadoes strip that was cleared by bulldozers in September 2010 to make way for the new highway.

JET argued that the government had not provided sufficient information about the project and had not adequately consulted the public.  JET explains that “[t]he court ruled that [the government] breached the legal standard for consultation and breached the legitimate expectation that all environmental information relative to the development of Palisadoes would be disclosed to the public and the applicant before approval was granted.”

Unfortunately, despite ruling that the government’s actions did not meet the legal standard for public participation, the damage was already done and the court allowed the permits to stand. Therefore, construction of the roadway, boardwalk and seawalls will continue.

Although the impacts to the environment in this particular project will not be stopped, this is a very important legal victory – and should help stop future ill-conceived projects from going forward.  Improving public participation in decisions that impact the environment is critical for achieving sustainable development.

Congratulations JET!

Jen Gleason
Staff Attorney

Ritwick Dutta

I am pleased to announce an enormous victory in India that will protect the public from excessive exposure to radiation!

Radiation in coal ash is a significant health hazard.  On Monday, India’s National Green Tribunal ordered the Ministry of the Environment to investigate the impacts of a coal-fired plant in Maharashtra District and put national standards in place within one year.  ELAW partner Ritwick Dutta argued the case on behalf of the local community and thanked ELAW for providing critical information.

Read more in our eBulletin.

Mara Hvistendahl at Scientific American reports that coal ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste.

She writes:  “At issue is coal’s content of uranium and thorium, both radioactive elements.  They occur in such trace amounts in natural, or “whole,” coal that they aren’t a problem.  But when coal is burned into fly ash, uranium and thorium are concentrated at up to 10 times their original levels.”

ELAW has collaborated with Ritwick and his Delhi-based organization, the EIA Response and Resource Centre, for many years.

Congratulations to Ritwick for this hard fought win for the people of India!

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director

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