Cancun Sprawl Threatens Turtles

April 30, 2001 -- Lawyers at Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (CEMDA), Mexico`s leading public interest environmental law organization, are joining other NGOs and community groups celebrating an initial victory to protect fragile turtle nesting grounds along the Caribbean coast.

Over the past decade, the Cancun coastline has been overrun by hotels and resorts. Sprawl of the hotel industry threatens to encroach upon one of the world`s last pristine nesting grounds for green and loggerhead sea turtles, both endangered species.

CEMDA, together with the local government and other NGOs, challenged the construction of five hotels proposed for Xcacel-Xcacelito Bay, 67 miles south of Cancun. The government had approved the construction last November, but reversed its decision last week. The government canceled the permit based upon lack of public participation.

This decision was an important step, but CEMDA expects to continue its challenge. The government did not reverse its decision based on the environmental impacts of the project, thus the developers could try to have the decision reversed again.

We wish CEMDA the best of luck in securing legal protection for the turtles of Xcacel-Xcacelito.