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Municipal Exec Denies Illegal Clear Cutting

By: Staff | Real Acapulco News - 24 November, 2010

(Acapulco, JG 24 November) Yesterday, the Secretary General of Acapulco, Vicente Trujillo Sandoval, denied that there was any illegal clear-cutting of protected forest on his land on a hillside above Acapulco. Press reports on Monday showed photos of the devastation of trees on land bordering the Botanical Gardens and Loyola University of the Pacific. The reports added that workers on the site told reporters that they were clearing land for construction on Trujillo’s property. The operation was described as “ecocide,” as it threatened to scar permanently the natural scenery of the east side of Acapulco’s bay. Newspapers cited the clear-cutting of timber as yet another example of local politicians who act above the law.

Today, the press reported Trujillo Sandoval’s denial that he was building anything on his property adjoining the botanical gardens. He did admit that he plans to construct a residential development of six lots on the plot, which will connect to the main road by a short street. He added that he acquired the land in 1997 from the Acapulco Land Trust (which manages city land), and that the same had already approved the project. The clearing of forest appears to be the first step in creating the lots and the right-of-way for the street. When interviewed in his office, he was not able to remember the name of the contractor hired to clear the land, but insisted that the work was legal, as it had been licensed by the Secretary of Urban Development and Public Works, who reports to him in the city government structure. In defense of his project, Trujillo Sandoval said he visited with his neighbors, the Botanical Gardens and the Loyola University, to inform them of his construction plans. He insisted that everything was legal. He did not, however, address the issue of environmental protection rules and regulations, saying that such details should be handled between the city government officials and SEMARNAT, the federal environmental protection agency. He said as far as he knew, they probably have started that process.

The politician and land developer asserted that the photo published Monday in the press, in which construction workers are destroying large tropical trees protected by SEMARNAT, was not taken on his property. “My property is a few meters higher up on the hill,” he said.

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