Pemex has reportedly begun cutting down protected mangrove trees to construct the controversial $8 billion USD Dos Bocas oil refinery, in the Mexican state of Tabasco.
In doing so, Pemex, the world’s most indebted oil company, would be defying a government order by industry regulator ASEA which safeguards the mangrove forests.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ordered the construction of the refinery in July 2018 and the company hired a third party to begin clearing designated site of mangroves shortly after.
But it wasn’t until the following year the permit to begin work was issued. ASEA fined the third party $700,000 for the destruction already caused to the area and gave Pemex a conditional building permit in August 2019 that barred the comp destroying the remaining mangrove trees.
According to Quartz, satellite images of the site show Pemex ignored the order and has been clearing more mangroves and vegetation in the area.
The order issued by ASEA stated: “Considering the project will be built in areas where there are wetlands, it is prohibited to interrupt or divert any runway or flow of runoff (temporary or permanent), drains, strams, canals or any other type of water bodies.
“Likewise, the integrity of the hydrological flow of the remaining area of the mangrove area that is located on the banks of the Seco River must be kept safe. The project cannot carry out any landfill, leave boards or infrastructure construction that can alter or disturb the free water flow or cause the drying of the wetland.
“ASEA also orders the realisation of specific actions for the protection of the mangrove remnants that remain in the dry riverbed, the regulated company must carry out the monitoring of mangrove exchange rates through the Monitoring System of the Mangroves of Mexico, identifying the state and trends of hange (loss, deterioration or recover), of mangrove coverage in the SAR and in the project area.
“In case of presenting losses or deterioration of the vegetal cover, the regulated company will have to identify the actions that are causing these affectations and apply the mitigation measures and/or compensations necessary so that said coverage follows its tendency of recovery.”