Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Mexican President vetoes biofuel law

[MEXICO CITY] Mexican president Felipe Calderón has vetoed a bioenergy law to establish biofuel production in the country, saying that it focuses too much on maize and sugarcane production.

The veto was exercised this month (1 September), after deputies in the ruling Revolutionary Institutional Party approved the law in April.

According to Calderón, the law focuses too much on producing ethanol biofuel from sugar cane and maize, without considering other new technologies that could allow for seaweed, bacteria, enzyme and cellulose biofuels.

Critics argue that using food crops such as maize for biofuel production could compromise world food security and push up international food prices.

The veto also states that responsibility for biofuel should not lie solely with the Ministry of Agriculture and that the Ministry of Energy should be involved. It recommends that the Ministry of Agriculture should only be responsible for biofuel development and promotion, with the energy ministry responsible for their production, transportation and marketing.

Cruz Lopez Aguilar, a member of parliament and president of the National Peasant Confederation, a political pressure group, warned that if the veto is not withdrawn within 15 days, the two years of legislative work it took to draft the proposal with agricultural organisations and authorities will be wasted.

"Now it turns out that the presidency can change a whole chapter, articles and also the name of the law, because now it is called the Biofuels Production and Marketing Law," he said.

Jordy Herrera, undersecretary of Energy Planning and Technological Development of the Ministry of Energy, said at a press conference that the law initially approved by legislators covered the planned 2.6 million litres of ethanol to be added daily to fuels produced by PEMEX (Petróleos Mexicanos), the state-owned oil company.