AP NEWS

Mexican environment officials protest budget cuts

November 14, 2019

MEXICO CITY (AP) — In a rare protest against his own administration, Mexico’s environment secretary decried 50% budget cuts to his agency and issued a public appeal for more funds Wednesday.

Environment Secretary Victor Toledo and the heads of ecological enforcement for almost all of Mexico’s 31 states signed an open letter appealing to all three levels of government to increase funding.

The letter said 2020 budgets for the environmental agency is 56% less than what it was in 2015.

“This reduction contrasts with the environmental and climate emergency that is occurring in many parts of the country,” the letter said. “Mexico today is a country where both society and the environment have been devastated.”

The administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has cut government budgets across the board since taking office last Dec. 1.

López Obrador has been criticized for reducing personnel assigned to fight forest fires and guard the wintering grounds of the monarch butterfly. He also stopped compensation payments to fishermen in the Gulf of California for not using nets that threaten the endangered vaquita porpoise.