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Protests and legal action against Fracking, Coahuila, Mexico


Mexico has the sixth largest reserve of recoverable shale gas in the world, estimated at 600 trillion cubic feet. It also is suspected to have the 8th largest recoverable shale oil reserve of up to 13 billion barrels (2). An energy reform undertaken in 2013 now allows for private investment in Mexico’s oil and gas reserves. Mexican environmentalists and even some politicians have openly expressed anti-fracking sentiment, with concerns centred on depletion of already-scarce water, aquifer contamination, use of toxic chemicals, toxic waste, and earthquakes (2, 3).

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Protests and legal action against Fracking, Coahuila, Mexico
State or province:Coahuila
Location of conflict:Semarnat & Northern Coahuila
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Shale gas fracking
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

-10,000 fracking wells planned to be drilled

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Type of populationUnknown
Affected Population:1-3,000,000
Start of the conflict:2013
Company names or state enterprises:PEMEX from Mexico
Lewis Energy Group from United States of America - Texan-based company working in collaboration with Pemex
Relevant government actors:PRD political party has made anti-fracking statements;
Coahuila state government;
National government;
the 'Morena' party
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Coalición de Organizaciones Mexicanas por el Derecho al Agua;
Asosciación de Usuarios del Agua
PRD political party has made anti-fracking statements
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Repression
Strengthening of participation
Proposal and development of alternatives:Activists are calling for a moratorium or outright ban on fracking by Mexico's National Congress and Coahuila's state government.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Fracking in Coahuila is largely still in exploratory stages with only exploratory wells drilled so far, however these wells lack the necessary EIA, which signals a current disregard for environmental care at this stage.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Mexico Energy Reform (December 21, 2013)
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Coahuila Bloquean Carretera Contra el Fracking--Article in Spanish about an anti-fracking highway blockade in Coahuila
[click to view]

Llama a la Resistencia-Spanish language article regarding ex-federal deputy's critiques of current government policies
[click to view]

Fracking Fights Loom Large in Mexico-article
[click to view]

Saltillo Activists Call for Suspension of Fracking Activities in Mexico's Coahuila State
[click to view]

La Contaminación por fracking, hasta en películas y documentales de Hollywood-article in Spanish about proposed fracking activities in Mexico and the dangers associated with them, with comparisons drawn to fracking depicted in U.S. documentaries.
[click to view]

Fracking Frenzy: How the fracking industry is threatening the planet? (Article on fracking activities in the global south)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Lena Weber, Lund University Human Ecology Department
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1701
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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