Union of Indigenous Communities from the North of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) opposes TC Energy gas pipeline in Mexico

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Carlos Beas Torres of UCIZONI.

The Union of Indigenous Communities from the North of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) is opposed to the of the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (CIIT) and the TC Energy Southeast Gateway Pipeline, an offshore gas pipeline whose landfall endpoint is Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, which is situated in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.


Carlos Beas Torres of UCIZONI says: “This [CIIT] megaproject, which includes the construction of more than ten industrial parks, will create an intense strain on our rivers, streams, and water sources. They are also building high speed railway lines to transport goods, as well as expanding ports, destroying many trees, and destroying mountains.”

Mexico News Daily has also explained: “The so-called Interoceanic Corridor will include 10 new industrial parks across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec — the narrow ‘waist’ of southern Mexico between Salina Cruz, Oaxaca and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.”

That article adds: “The ports of Coatzacoalcos and Salina Cruz would be expanded, and a new gas pipeline would be constructed in the oil-rich region.”

And El Universal has reported the pipeline would serve the needs of companies in the south of the country, “especially those established in the industrial parks promoted by the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (CIIT).”

The Jaltipán-Salina Cruz/Chinameca-Oaxaca pipeline

That pipeline appears to be the Jaltipán-Salina Cruz pipeline. In August 2022, Bnamericas reported on the Jaltipán-Salina Cruz pipeline, which is expected to cross the Tehuantepec isthmus. Mexico Daily Post has also noted: “The pipeline will support the development of the Tehuantepec interoceanic corridor (CIIT).”

This pipeline may now be known as the Chinameca-Oaxaca gas pipeline. It would span from Chinameca, Veracruz to Salina Cruz, Oaxaca.

The Sur de Texas-Tuxpan and Southeast Gateway pipeline

In an article about the CIIT, Beas says: “Two gas pipelines are currently being considered, one involving a Canadian company, TransCanada [TC Energy Corporation], seeking to transport gas from the state of Texas to southeastern Mexico [this most likely refers to the Sur de Texas – Tuxpan Pipeline], where the construction of another gas pipeline [we think the Chinameca-Oaxaca pipeline] is being proposed by two North American companies, Mirage Energy and Hemisphere Northern Logistics.”

He adds: “We also want to inform you that they announced this week [the week of May 15] that they started the construction of [the Southeast Gateway] pipeline from Tuxpan [Veracruz] to Coatzacoalcos [Veracruz] without an environmental impact assessment. This project is also being built by TransCanada [TC Energy]. So, we are witnessing this Canadian company threaten the Laguna del Ostion estuary, in the south of the state of Veracruz.”

Photo: The Laguna del Ostion estuary.

The PBI-Mexico accompanied People’s Front in Defense of Land and Water of Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala signed this letter against the Southeast Gateway pipeline.

Pieced together, the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan Pipeline would go from Brownsville, Texas to Tuxpan. The Southeast Gateway pipeline would go from Tuxpan to Coatzacoalcos. And the start of the Chinameca-Oaxaca pipeline (that would cross the Isthmus of Tehuantepec) would be situated 36 kilometres from the end point of the Southeast Gateway pipeline.

Southeast Gateway pipeline connects with Trans-Isthmus pipeline

Expansion reports: “The 715-kilometer [Southeast Gateway] pipeline will originate in Tuxpan – where the first stretch [the Sur de Texas – Tuxpan Pipeline] that runs under the sea from South Texas concludes – will continue offshore and make landfall in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, where it will carry fuel to the Salina Cruz liquefaction plant, and in Dos Bocas, Tabasco the project will also transport gas to the Olmeca refinery [also protected by the Mexican Navy] and connect with the Trans-Isthmus pipeline, which has been projected by the federal government to connect the port of Salina Cruz, in Oaxaca, with Jáltipan, Veracruz.”

TC Energy in Mexico

Overall, TC Energy has five fully owned pipelines currently operating in Mexico.

Encino-Topolobampo pipeline

One of those pipelines is the Encino-Topolobampo pipeline that was successfully resisted by the San Elías Repechique Forest community who fought for the pipeline to be rerouted away from the ancestral territory of the Rarámuri in Chihuahua.

Tuxpan-Tula pipeline

TC Energy is also building the Tuxpan-Tula pipeline resisted that is being resisted by Otomi, Nahua and Tepehua communities grouped together as the Regional Council of Indigenous Peoples in Defense of the Territory of Puebla and Hidalgo.

In January 2020 Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that the pipeline would be rerouted away from areas in Puebla state that are held sacred by local indigenous groups. In April 2023, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) confirmed the intention to complete the pipeline. As of June 2023, efforts to complete the construction of the pipeline appeared to be moving ahead despite continued opposition.

PBI-Mexico participates in observation mission on the CIIT

Proceso has reported: “During its three-day tour [July 25-27], the Civilian Observation Mission recorded human rights violations, framed in the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus megaproject, against members of indigenous peoples and communities, most of which involve the Navy and the National Guard.”

Video: A representative of PBI-Mexico (in green vest) speaks (starting at 35:26) at the observation mission media conference, July 27.

La Jornada has further reported: “The most worrying thing, [the civilian observation mission] said, is that there has been an increase in attacks this year and the integrity of defenders who resist this mega-project is at risk.”

The joint statement from the observation mission can be read here.

It highlights: “Among the authorities responsible for the human rights violations identified during the mission are the National Guard, the Navy, the Sedena [the Mexican Secretariat of National Defense], [and] the State Police…”

‘We are also protesting against TC Energy’

Beas has also commented on what needs to be done: “Spreading the word is very important because we are being isolated, the information regarding what is happening here, silenced. In many places, no one is aware of what is currently happening: the escalating situation of criminalization, the repercussions of the Interoceanic Corridor and the interests of TransCanada, building gas pipelines. The original peoples of Canada and the United States have also had intense struggles against the impacts of these projects. It is important to know that in Mexico we are also protesting against this company.”

The Wet’suwet’en oppose the TC Energy Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline on their territory in northern British Columbia, Canada.

We continue to follow this with concern.

Further reading: Extension of The National Dream railway has implications for Indigenous land defenders opposing megaproject in Mexico (July 30, 2023).

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