Activists say Mexico not enforcing environmental laws related to Mayan Train project

MEXICO CITY, July 21 (Reuters) - Several environmental groups submitted a claim on Thursday saying "Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws to assess the environmental impacts" related to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's multibillion-dollar Mayan Train project.

Lopez Obrador's flagship project, aimed at attracting tourists to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, has been beset by legal challenges.

The groups allege the 1,470-km (910-mile) line is being rushed through without adequate environmental impact studies.

"Inadequate soil and geophysical studies fail to consider the fragility of the Yucatan Peninsula's karst and soil, resulting in elevated risks of infrastructure sinking and fuel transportation accidents," said the statement by the groups. They made the submission under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).

On Tuesday, Lopez Obrador said the project had been deemed a matter of national security, which could allow development to proceed despite a series of legal injunctions stalling construction.

The CEC has 30 days to review the submission and determine whether it meets the requirements to take action under the USMCA agreement, it said in a statement.

The activist movement "Selvame del Tren," which participated in the submission, held a press conference earlier Thursday to announce a campaign it called "the uncomfortable pillow."

Activists named 15 business executives and politicians, including Lopez Obrador, as those they said should struggle to sleep at night over the environmental destruction caused by the project.

"We have to wake up in Mexico, not only in environmental issues, but in the rule of law, respect for the law of the highest authority," said activist Gemma Santana.

Reporting by Kylie Madry and Cassandra Garrison, Editing by Anthony Esposito and David Gregorio

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