ALFREDO AZCARATE VARELA
THE BAJA POST/EDITOR
Estero Beach Hotel in Ensenada has been draining sewage water into the sea and has failed to pay about 137.5 million pesos in fees to the Water Commission of Ensenada, among other administrative and environmental illegal practices according to Baja California Secretary of Honesty, Vicenta Espinoza, who said that the hotel has a 137.7 million peso outstanding debt as well as other violations to the Law according to the National Water Commission.
The hotel belongs to the family of Senator Gerardo Novel, who was recently competing with other politicians to become Baja California Governor, but he lost and now his hotel is accused of ecocide practices, and he has already denied such a thing, stating that it is not true.
There was no formal service contract signed with the Water Commission of Ensenada (CESPE in Spanish), the hotel has a big debt for water consumption, besides the ecocide caused by discharging black water to the sea, among other results of the audit carried out by FISAMEX, the company that was hired by the State to review and audit companies in order to determine who hasn´t been paying water fees.
Carolina Escobar, state coordinator of FISAMEX, explained that the hotel extracts more than one million 800 thousand cubic meters every year, even though it only has permission to extract 4 thousand 600 cubic meters every year, thus violating Article 119 of Mexico´s National Water Law, surpassing the volume they are authorized to use by more than 12 times, according to the audit’s results.
Moreover, personnel from FISAMEX and the Secretary of Honesty of Baja California, found, next to the wooden fence that set the limits of the hotel perimeter, they saw a dirty water stream that runs to the sea, without any technical record or environmental damage control measures whatsoever, which is a flagrant violation of Federal Laws.
Vicenta Espinoza also said that the hotel didn´t allow the inspectors into the facilities and they didn´t give any information whatsoever, so there hasn´t been a correct verification of the volume, outlets contracts and concessions, so they are still gathering data in order to be able to collect the outstanding payments.
Governor Jaime Bonilla said: “This case started by a whistle blow call to the State General Attorney office, those days are over, 137 million pesos that haven´t been paid, it´s money that belongs to the people, that is why Ensenada is so badly “hurt”, because these people have been allowed, passing as entrepreneurs, to operate in such an irregular manner, and we must determine when and how justice is going to be done, we are working hard on this and other issues, President Lopez Obrador knows all about it”.
Mr. Bonilla said that no political pressure will be tolerated and this particular subject will be dealt with by CONAGUA and he asked for a federal inspection to be carried out in order to determine the real extent of the ecological damage the Estero Beach Hotel has caused to the sea in front of its facilities.