Mexican President orders automatic approval of projects

The government of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador issued a broad decree requiring all federal agencies to automatically approve all government public works projects

MEXICO CITY-The government of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador issued a broad decree on Monday that requires all federal agencies to automatically approve the government’s belief that it “is in the national interest” or “ Any public works project involving national security.

Then, these agencies will have one year to give final approval, by which time the projects may have broken ground.

López Obrador is known for building large-scale projects. For example, he began to build a 950-mile (1,500-kilometer) “Maya Train” line that would circulate roughly around the Yucatan Peninsula.

But Monday’s decree from the Ministry of the Interior will remove such requirements.

“This is serious. This is serious. This needs to be boycotted,” security analyst Alejandro Hope wrote in his Twitter account.

Leonardo Núñez, a researcher at the non-profit organization Mexico’s Anti-Corruption Organization, called the decree “extremely dangerous”.

The decree stipulates that “Projects and projects carried out by the Mexican government related to infrastructure related to communications, telecommunications, customs, borders, water conservancy projects, environment, tourism, health, railways and all fields related to energy and ports, airports… Declaring it is in the public interest and national security issues.”

López Obrador is a big supporter of fossil fuels and has ordered the construction of a large refinery and upgrades to other refineries.

But the Mayan train may be his most ambitious endeavor. It aims to connect Caribbean beach resorts to the interior of the peninsula, mainly indigenous populations and heritage sites, to stimulate economic development around its 15 stations. The government said it would cost up to $6.8 billion, but others said it would be more.

Critics say that López Obrador broke into the project without fully studying its impact on the environment, underground sinkholes and ruins known as cenotes.

Some sections of the route already have tracks, and the institute stated that railway construction has disrupted some cultural relics decades ago. But other sections will pass through sensitive jungle terrain, although they will be parallel to existing roads or transmission lines. Even where old railway lines exist, the project means renewing tracks and building new stations.

Some Mayan communities have challenged the project in court, believing that it will cause environmental damage. They also said that they did not adequately consult on this or that they would not share the benefits of it.

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