Given the possibility that industrial projects in the municipality of La Paz could be approved from outside the entity and far from the interests of the citizens of the area, Mayor EsthelaPonce Beltrán announced last week that she is firm in her decision, as is her government, in the opposition of any option that could affect or damage the future of the population.
The mayor, along with members of La Paz’s City Council and representatives of the Frente Ciudadano en Defensa del Agua y la Vida de Baja California Sur, have signed a 6-page document stating their official position against mega mining projects. The document was sent to the Secretary of SEMARNAT, (Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources) Juan José Guerra Abud.
La Paz’s head of government made clear that her position as a citizen and mayor of La Paz, as well as those who make up the capital’s city council, is the same as it always has been expressed; they will reject any project that threatens the development and the future of the municipality and its population. “Today and always,” the mayor stated, “we will be consistent with protecting the sustainability of our natural heritage.”
Ponce Beltran said that the voice of the people of La Paz is the same as the people who are currently representing them politically in the municipality. “No one can make us change our minds.”
She said that despite the imminent release of the authorization of the company Los Cardones, they have made a decision in advance to say no to the possibility of authorizing mega projects of any kind that may represent a risk to the ecology, economy and health of the inhabitants of the municipality. “Our decision is unchangeable,” she said, “and that position is also a product of the conviction to ensure the interests of each paceño, for the community and for future generations.”
Opponents of open-pit mining in the municipality of La Paz have taken to sit-ins at both the Governor’s Office and at the Municipality of La Paz’s government offices to show their frustration at the possibility of projects being approved in the area. Currently, the environmental impact study for Los Cardones is being reviewed by the federal Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, SEMARNAT.
Los Cardones is a proposed mega mining project just 65km southeast of La Paz, on the edge of the Sierra de La Laguna Biosphere, a UNESCO protected area in Mexico.
Several environmental groups and experts are opposing this and other mining projects on environmental and public health grounds.
Anticipated risks of mega-mining projects include contaminated ground and drinking water, cyanide pollution and high levels of dust laced with arsenic and heavy metals.