Environmentalists have achieved partial success with their lawsuit against ‘Section 5’ of the controversial major project after a court imposed a temporary halt to construction due to a lack of environmental impact assessments. Contrary to original plans, the 125-kilometer-long section of the 1500-kilometer-long rail line from Cancún to Tulúm will not run parallel to the upgraded coastal road 307, but will cross the tropical dry forest in the hinterland (Image: Francisco Colín Varela, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
On one hand, this fragile ecosystem is considered threatened; on the other hand, environmental activists and geologists see the unique cave system and the cenotes under the thin karst cover threatened by the railroad project.
One of the plaintiffs, cave diver and environmental activist José Urbina, has published in his social networks images showing that slice through the forest already cut by the operators of the Tren Maya project. (Here is the link: https://www.milenio.com/videos/politica/jose-urbina-buzo-cuevas-seguiran-peleando-cancelacion-tramo-5-tren-maya)
On May 27, 2022, a federal judge in Yucatán has now ruled that work on the controversial section will be permanently suspended. This suspension of work stems from an injunction issued by the Organization for the Defense of the Right to a Healthy Environment (DMAS), which wanted to prevent work from continuing without an environmental impact assessment.
Although critics also see the need to develop the Yucatecan hinterland and strengthen it, for example, with rural tourism initiatives, they advocate the expansion and better repair of existing roads instead of a luxury rail line that would bring further urban sprawl to the still intact forest.