Paraíso, Tabasco was declared an unfit location for a refinery in 2008

Over 4,000 animals from 119 species will be endangered by the construction of the Dos Bocas oil refinery

Paraíso, Tabasco was declared an unfit location for a refinery in 2008
Over 119 species inhabit the area where the government will build a refinery - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 08/07/2019 13:34 Astrid Rivera Mexico City Actualizada 11:30
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Eleven years ago, the Mexican Institute of Petroleum (IMP) warned that the Paraíso municipality, located in the state of Tabasco, was a risky location to build an oil refinery and declared that it wasn't a fit location.

The Environmental and Socio-economic Feasibility Analysis of Different Sites for the Location of the Expansion Process Capacity Project of the National Refinery System (SNR), issued by the IMP in 2008, emphasizes that the municipality where the Dos Bocas refinery will be located presents several limiting factors for the development of a refinery, especially in regards to environmental, social, and infrastructure matters.

In November 2008, the IMP sent the document to Pemex and highlighted that Paraíso presented a “problem” linked to ecosystems because the area was home to several protected and endangered species, as well as vegetation comprised mainly by swamps, estuaries, and mangroves.

The IMP evaluated 7 municipalities by comparing the environment, social, and economic conditions to determine which was the best site for the construction of an oil refinery. The locations analyzed were: Lázaro Cárdenas in Michoacán; Manzanillo in Colima; Minatitlán and Tuxpan in Veracruz; Paraíso in Tabasco; Salina Cruz in Oaxaca, and Tula de Allende in Hidalgo.

Furthermore, since 2008, the IMP warned about the rising of the sea levels in Tabasco, which is caused by climate change.

Although all the locations that were evaluated present positive and negative characteristics, the IMP warned that Paraíso in Tabasco presented the most environmental and geographical risk factors; in contrast, the research center considered that Tuxpan was an “adequate location” for the construction of an oil refinery because of the development of industries in the regions, as well as for its communication routes, nevertheless, the IMP also warned about the biological richness of the area and how it would be put at risk.

Gustavo Alanís, the general director of the Mexican Environmental Right Center (CEMDA), emphasized that although the IMP considered that land in Paraíso was vulnerable in 2008, the current federal government is still promoting the construction of the Dos Bocas oil refinery, which shows its lack of interest in the environment: “What we have noticed is that environmental issues are not a priority for the (current) administration.”

Alanís said that the Dos Bocas oil refinery “started with the wrong foot,” because the cutting of 220 mangrove hectares in Dos Bocas was revealed, in order to prepare the site for the refinery, even when the project didn't have an Environmental Impact Assessment or a permit to modify the land use changes, something Alanís considered as a “lack of respect” to the environment legislation.

On the other hand, for Gustavo Ampugnani, the executive directive of Greenpeace Mexico, the construction of the Dos Bocas oil refinery will not only generate an environmental impact because of the wildlife and fauna that inhabit the area, but it will also contribute to global warming because the refinery will emit greenhouse gasses.

“This project is incompatible with what the world requires before the emergency represented by climate change, the argument used to justify the development of this project is to achieve the energetic self-sufficiency and the development of the southern (region) but that can be achieved through renewable energies.”

Also, over 4,000 animals from 119 species will be endangered by the construction of the Dos Bocas oil refinery, according to the Environment Impact Assessment presented by Pemex.


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