Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took pride in the fact that his administration hasn’t approved new mining concessions.
During a public event with Indigenous people in the central state of Puebla, López Obrador criticized the five administrations that preceded his for approving concessions that ceded 90 million hectares of land to mining companies. “[But] we have approved zero,” the left-wing politician said.
According to local media, the president -known by his initials AMLO- also said he is not going to betray his people and, therefore, he will not allow the use of fracking to extract oil and gas.
The Mexican leader also announced that he will ask Calgary-based TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) to modify the route of its 287-kilometre long Tuxpan-Tula natural gas pipeline so that it doesn’t cut through the Cerro del Brujo (Sorcerer’s Hill), a mountain considered sacred by the northern Puebla First Nations.
AMLO condemned that the contract signed with TC Energy stipulates that even if the pipeline is not being built, the Mexican state has to pay for it. Thus, he said it was important to renegotiate the deal so that the Canadian company continued building the duct, something that allowed his government to save $4.5 billion.
In response to the president’s speech, Gabino Hernández, representative of the Nahuátl people, asked for mining, hydro, and fracking projects to be banned in the region. According to Hernández, communities are worried about the possible impacts of such operations on the local fauna and water resources.