Protests in Mexico

Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)   Eco-Protests in Mexico
$1.9 Billion Project Called “Wasteful”
Eugene Airport: Half of all its passengers fly United. Environmental groups are up in arms over the ongoing construction of a series of marinas along the Baja California coast.

The $1.9 billion project, dubbed Escalera Nautica (“nautical ladder”), was begun in February 2001 by Mexico’s Federal Tourism Promotion Fund (FONATUR), the same group that sparked the development of Cancun in the 1970s.

Plans call for about two dozen marinas on both shores of Baja California and on the western coast of the mainland. In addition, FONATUR is building 10,000 hotel rooms along with meeting facilities, golf courses, and airport and airfield expansions. All work is expected to be finished by 2015.

Opposing groups say the construction would be an enormous waste of public funds. “No one I know wants this to happen,” said David Simmonds, president of the Sea of Cortez International Preservation Foundation.

Among the concerns for Baja’s ecosystem are that the increased development and maritime traffic will pose dangers to migrating whales and sea turtles.

In response to critics, Escalera Nautica director Alejandro Rodriguez said FONATUR is investing in the preservation of the natural area. Seven ecotourism parks will be built, he noted, and the planned hotels and golf courses will be eco-friendly.


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