UPDATE 1-Activists say Mexico is not enforcing environmental laws related to the Mayan train project

(New everywhere, adds details and background)

MEXICO CITY, July 21 (Reuters) – Several environmental groups filed a complaint on Thursday claiming “Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws to assess environmental impacts” related to the president’s multi-billion dollar Mayan train project Mexican Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

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 crossed in haste without proper environmental impact studies.

“Inadequate soil and geophysical studies fail to account for the fragility of the Yucatan Peninsula’s karst and soil, leading to high risks of infrastructure sinking and fuel transportation accidents,” the statement said. groups. They submitted the request 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 continue despite a series of legal injunctions blocking construction.

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

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

Activists have named 15 business executives and politicians, including Lopez Obrador, as those they believe will have trouble sleeping at night because of the environmental destruction caused by the project.

“We need to wake up in Mexico, not only to environmental issues, but to 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)