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MEXICO CITY -- The heavily populated state ringing Mexico
City has asked for $2.5 billion in compensation for water delivered
to the country's capital, sparking a confrontation involving
government entities led by three rival political parties.
Mexico State Gov. Arturo Montiel said there is no political motive
behind a complaint his state filed with the Supreme Court.
"It's not a question of politics," said the governor, a powerful
member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which controlled
Mexico's presidency from 1929 until 2000. "It's simply a legitimate
claim against a federal entity. We're not demanding anything that
doesn't belong to us."
The state hopes to collect a water debt stretching back to 1970
from Mexico City, now governed by the leftist Democratic Revolution
Party, or from the federal government, headed by President Vicente
Fox of the right-center National Action Party, or from both entities.
The long-running confrontation over water from the Rio Lerma basin
has reached the Supreme Court at the height of an intense rainy
season in Mexico City, where flooding shut down highways and subway
lines recently and closed the city's international airport.
Despite summer monsoons, Mexico City still has to pump much of its
drinking water from outside the city.
Montiel said taking the case to the Supreme Court was the last
resort after negotiations and other appeals failed.
Questioned about the startling amount of the claim, Montiel said,
"Just imagine the amount of drinkable water that's going daily to the
Montiel said Mexico state's population of more than 14 million
people is running short on natural and financial resources.
Mexico state residents outnumber the roughly 8.5 million people
who live within Mexico City's official city limits. But 20 million
people call the capital's metro area home, a testament to the level
of urban development spilling over into Mexico state.
"I'm simply asking the government of the republic to treat the
state of Mexico more equitably," Montiel said.
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