EL CENTRO – Concerns regarding the EcoZoneMx construction project to be built in Mexicali, Baja California, prompted Interim Director for the Air Pollution Control Office Reyes Romero, as directed by District-1 Supervisor John Renison, to provide the board with the information available regarding the project, during October 11, board meeting.
“This project has been getting a lot of attention in Mexicali and has brought concerns to Imperial Valley residents, especially the residents of Calexico,” said Romero.
The proposed 36,000 acre site (EcoZoneMx) will be located southwest of Mexicali, and west of the Sierra Cucapa (8 miles from the Calexico/Mexicali border), and will consist of various projects including a hazardous waste storage facility, solar energy farms capable of producing up to 450 megawatts of electricity, a recycling facility, and be zoned residential and commercial.
Romero said what has prompted alarm among the Calexico and Mexicali communities is the proposed 2,000 acre hazardous waste storage facility.
“It is projected that the hazardous waste facility will be able to handle approximately 70-80 percent of all of the hazardous waste that is produced in Mexico as well as the ability to store hazardous waste being imported or exported from the United States,” said Romero. “This project is under federal jurisdiction, therefore approval has been handled from SEMARNAT in Mexico City (Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources).
According to Romero, the construction of the project (EcoZoneMx) has already been approved by SEMARNAT, with the exception of the hazardous waste storage facility.
“What is causing the problem is the little information available about the design and construction of the facility, it’s secretive,” said Romero. “Everything is handled through Mexico City and that is the reason it is causing a lot of concerns for Mexicali residents because they don’t have information.”
Renison said he spoke with Lieutenant Governor of Baja California Francisco Rueda and mayor-elect for Mexicali, Gustavo Sanchez, earlier Tuesday morning. Both said they had no knowledge of the project. Renison said for the project to come to fruition Mexicali must grant land-use rights, an issue that is still pending.
The board approved Renison’s suggestion of arranging a meeting with SEMARNAT to discuss the project and obtain accurate information. It was proposed that Renison, Romero and District-5 Supervisor Ray Castillo attend the meeting.
SEMARNAT (Mexico Government institution, Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources) Mexico’s environment ministry is charged with the mission of protecting, restoring, and conserving the ecosystems, natural resources, assets and environmental services of Mexico with the goal of fostering sustainable development.