The federal environmental agency Profepa has stopped an expansion and renovation project at the Hotel ME Cancún because it lacks an environmental impact study.
An inspection of the property revealed that an area of 20,045 square meters was affected by the construction work.
The newly built structures include two four-story buildings and an underground cistern while the resort’s main building and green areas were under renovation. The federal agents also detected excavations and soil removal.
But Profepa said there had been no environmental assessment as required by law.
While the ME Cancún hotel is located in the city’s hotel zone, it lies also very close to the Nichupté Lagoon, a declared natural protected area that is home to several endemic species in the coastal wetland environment.
The suspension was issued in order to reduce the risk of damage to the sand dunes and beach, which are nesting grounds for sea turtles.
The environmental agency stated that ecosystems such as those must be protected for the environmental stability they provide.
Legal action against the unauthorized work and its impact on the environment can mean fines of up to 3.7 million pesos (US $180,000) according to environmental laws, and the individuals found responsible could face up to nine years in prison as well as fines of up to 220,000 pesos, according to the federal penal code.
The hotel announced in July that it would close in August for remodeling and expansion, with reopening planned for early December
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