Mitsubishi Project to Sacrifice Gray Whales for Profits.
What's ours could be a MINE !
The Eastern Pacific gray whale holds great significance in the
fight for endangered species preservation as a symbol of success.
Once hunted to near extinction by commercial whalers, gray whale
populations are only now regenerating to their original numbers.
This recovery is a result of five decades of protective
stewardship and joint cooperation by US, Mexican and Canadian
groups and individuals. While many people on the pacific coast
refer to this species as the "California" gray, these migratory
whales are in fact born in the Mexican lagoons of the Baja
Peninsula. It is here where the gray whale species is again
threatened with potential extinction in a plan to destroy the most
fertile of its' habitats.
Mitsubishi Corporation and Mexican government owned Exportadora de
Sal (ES), a salt export company of which Mitsubishi owns 49%, are
threatening to expand salt mining operations in the
Vezcaino Desert Reserve, part of the UN's Biosphere Reserve
Program. Specifically this project would be ecologically
devastating to the San Ignacio Lagoon area, the most pristine of
four bays where migrating gray whales spend their winter months.
The Mitsubishi/ES project would directly sacrifice 21,000 acres of
protected land surrounding the lagoon for an industrial complex.
Plans call for the building of a mile long pier, located 12 miles
from mouth of the lagoon, to facilitate a rotating flotilla of
ocean going ships. Damage to this pier from winter storms and
summer hurricanes could necessitate the dredging of the lagoon
itself in order to accommodate ship traffic. Operation of the
saltworks will demand the nonstop pumping of sea water from the
lagoon at the rate of 6,600 gallons per second, adversely lowering
the lagoon's temperature and salinity. The surrounding network of
roads needed to service the saltworks would, by the company's own
admission, have a permanent physical impact on 86,000 acres of the
Temporary Stay of Execution
The National Ecology Institute of Mexico recently halted this
project by rejecting the EIA submitted by ES. The rejection cited
the saltworks' incompatibility with the biosphere reserve and its
proximity to the lagoon. This temporary victory is largely a
result of pressure from the Mexican environmental organization
Grupo de los Cien (Group of 100). Juan Ignacio Bremer, director
of ES and coincidentally Mexico's Secretary of Commerce, has filed
an appeal with the Mexican government regarding this decision.
This issue will be heavily influenced, if not decided, by
international public opinion. We must take action! This issue is
crucial for gray whale protection as well as a critical test for
the working partnership between the Mexican and US environmental
communities. The decision making powers in Mexico need to hear
from you. Don't let your silence send a counterproductive message!
Go to IMMP table of contents.