AMLO Turns Former NAICM Site into Nature Reserve
By KELIN DILLON
Just one day after the inauguration of Mexico’s new Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA), Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) declared Lago Texcoco – the former site of the canceled Mexico City New International Airport (NAICM) – to be a protected nature reserve, putting an official nail in the coffin of the NAICM’s construction.
Published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF) on Tuesday, March 22, also known as World Water Day, AMLO’s new decree will keep the area protected through sustainable management in what the AMLO administration saidays will help combat climate change – an ironic claim considering the Lopez Obrador’s continual prioritization of dirty energy sources over clean energy.
“The area known as Lake Texcoco is now declared a protected natural area, with the character of a Natural Resources Protection Area, located in the municipalities of Atenco, Texcoco, Chimalhuacán, Nezahualcóyotl and Ecatepec de Morelos in the State of of Mexico, with an area of 14,000-33-48.53 hectares,” read the DOF decree, which is anticipated to take effect Wednesday, March 23.
According to the document, Lago Texcoco is home to more than 250 native species of flora and more than 370 native species of fauna, as well as 60 percent of birds in the State of Mexico, including migratory bird populations. The decree said it will allow certain economic activities to continue taking place in the area, like agriculture, fishing and the raising of livestock, but only within the parameters of its new designation as a Natural Resources Protection Area.
Likewise, there will be scientific steps taken to help preserve the area, including species reintroduction efforts, ecosystem restoration, control of invasive species and the implementation of tourism activities with a low environmental impact, while new residential developments will be banned throughout.
While the ambitious new decree should theoretically be a positive step forward for Mexican wildlife, AMLO’s administration has been known to make empty promises without any intention of following through; and with the decree’s announcement arriving conveniently right after the AIFA’s inauguration, it’s not difficult to speculate about what Lopez Obrador’s true intentions were behind publishing the decree.