Victory in Mexico Against Chevron!
March 19, 2007 | No Comments
A huge victory for the unique plants, animals, and communities of the Baja Peninsula has been achieved: Chevron has given up plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal near the Coronado Islands, off the coast of Baja Mexico. Greengrants has supported several organizations campaigning against this terminal over the last three years.
A press release from the international environmental law nonprofit, ELAW,points out that this victory is the end result of many years of hard work on the part of community activists and environmentalists on both sides of the border. Carla Garcia Zendejas, an environmental lawyer on the case and an ELAW partner and Greengrants grantee, notes, “We have been working together against these giants for years now. . . .if it were not for the opposition mounted on all fronts, from the media to the courts, this would not have been the outcome. They did not expect the community to opine, to be informed, to make declarations, and this delayed their enterprise completely. We did our best to educate the region and learn together. I believe this was the best part of it all.”
Carla is now working to oppose the siting of another LNG terminal, to be located in Puerto Libertad, Sonora, in the Sea of Cortez, that would have an equally negative impact on marine mammals and innumerable species which inhabit this fragile and biodiverse region.
Carla is director of the Mexican nonprofit Grupo de Trabajo Termoelectricas, which received support from Greengrants in 2004 to fund a workshop for the coastal communities that would have been affected by the LNG terminal in order to promote citizen voice on the issue. In 2005, Greengrants funded two other organizations also working on the campaign: Proyecto Fronterizo de Educacion Ambiental, A.C. to fund a study of LNG facilities, including the issues of environmental impact and regulatory status; and Colonos y Propietarios del Fraccionamiento Playas de Tijuana, A.C. to continue their campaign to promote the use of sustainable energy as alternatives to the LNG terminals. The combination of impact analysis, community organizing, and the promotion of sustainable alternatives all came together to aid in the March 13, 2007 victory against Chevron.
However, this is not a permanent victory. While Chevron has decided not to move forward with the LNG facility for the time being, there has been no official injunction against this type of construction on the Coronado Islands. And competing companies Shell and Sempra have moved forward with a facility at nearby Costa Azul – one of several other facilities in this ecologically sensitive region. The gas that is processed at these facilities is from Sakhalin Island (Russia) and Indonesia – places where Greengrants is supporting other community groups to fight for environmental health and community voice in decision-making. The global connections here are obvious.
While these challenges can seem immense, we fund more than 20 organizations each year in the Baja region of Mexico that are working to promote environmental conservation and sustainable resource use – the network is growing, and with this growth, we help to ensure that every single proposed LNG facility will be questioned and examined by the public. We congratulate our partners on this latest victory – each small step adds up to a healthier, cleaner world!