Agency forced to re­lease doc­u­ments

Imperial Valley Press - - NEWS -

A Mex­i­can agency de­cided to force the Na­tional Wa­ter Com­mis­sion (Con­agua) to re­lease doc­u­ments re­lated to the Con­stel­la­tion Brands beer plant un­der con­struc­tion in south­ern Mex­i­cali.

The Na­tional In­sti­tute of Trans­parency and Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion, or INAI in Span­ish, voted in re­sponse to a re­quest of in­for­ma­tion filed by a ci­ti­zen.

The com­mis­sion re­port­edly said no files were orig­i­nally found in its archives.

How­ever, INAI re­jected that ex­cuse due to the Con­agua’s re­spon­si­bil­ity in the is­sue.

Con­agua must sub­mit all doc­u­ments re­lated to the con­struc­tion of the plant and the wa­ter pipe­line built from Ejido Vil­la­her­mosa ru­ral town pro­duced since 2015.

Commissioner Joel Salas Suárez said ac­cord­ing to Con­agua all coun­ties in Baja Cal­i­for­nia had re­ported drought.

How­ever the beer plant will use 20 mil­lion cu­bic me­ters of wa­ter per year, which is the amount of wa­ter used by a city of 750,000 res­i­dents, commissioner Salas said.

In 2017 the state gov­ern­ment an­nounced the con­struc­tion of a 30-mile wa­ter line to trans­port wa­ter from the Colorado River to sup­ply the plant.

The commissioner said trans­parency in this case will help in­volved agen­cies to show this project has con­sid­ered en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts and that it will re­sult in the so­cioe­co­nomic ben­e­fits for the com­mu­nity.

Con­agua Coun­sel Of­fice said no doc­u­ments were found in its archives per­tain­ing to the project.

But commissioner Salas said the agency has all le­gal obli­ga­tions to have knowl­edge in the mat­ter given the agency au­tho­rizes wa­ter per­mits.

Con­agua must have given Con­stel­la­tion Brands a li­cense to use the na­tion’s wa­ter, the commissioner in­sisted.

Salas said al­though some doc­u­ments have been found about the plant project the Amer­i­can com­pany has not pro­vided the ap­pro­pri­ate in­for­ma­tion re­lated to the project’s au­tho­riza­tion.

Salas asked Con­agua to an­swer why the agency has no doc­u­ments re­lated to the con­tro­ver­sial plant.

The commissioner said the is­sue is sig­nif­i­cant for res­i­dents given Congress has al­ready de­ter­mined it rep­re­sents risks for the pop­u­la­tion due to the drought con­di­tions and the amount of wa­ter ex­pected to be used to pro­duce beer.

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