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Montevideo, December 9th 2016 - 03:47 UTC

Brazilian judge blocks plans to build world’s third largest dam in the Amazon

Saturday, February 26th 2011 - 06:02 UTC
Full article 8 comments
The Belo Monte should provide electricity to 23 million homes The Belo Monte should provide electricity to 23 million homes

A Brazilian judge has blocked plans to build a huge hydro-electric dam in the Amazon rainforest because of environmental concerns. Federal judge Ronaldo Desterro said environmental requirements to build the Belo Monte dam had not been met.

He also barred the national development bank, BNDES, from funding the project.

The dam is a cornerstone of President Dilma Rousseff's plans to upgrade Brazil's energy infrastructure. But it has faced protests and challenges from environmentalists and local indigenous groups who say it will harm the world's largest tropical rainforest and displace tens of thousands of people.

Judge Desterro said the Brazilian environmental agency, Ibama, had approved the project without ensuring that 29 environmental conditions had been met. In particular, he said concerns that the dam would disrupt the flow of the Xingu river - one of the Amazon's main tributaries - had not been met.

His ruling is the latest stage in a long legal battle over Belo Monte. Previous injunctions blocking construction have been overturned.

The government says the Belo Monte dam is crucial for development and will create jobs, as well as provide electricity to 23 million homes.

The 11,000-megawatt dam would be the biggest in the world after the Three Gorges in China and Itaipu, which is jointly run by Brazil and Paraguay.

It has long been a source of controversy, with bidding halted three times before the state-owned Companhia Hidro Eletrica do Sao Francisco was awarded the contract last year.

Celebrities such as the singer Sting and film director James Cameron have joined environmentalists in their campaign against the project.

They say the 6km dam will threaten the survival of a number of indigenous groups and could make some 50,000 people homeless, as 500 sq km of land would be flooded.
 

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  • GeoffWard

    Judge Desrerro said ...... 'In particular, he said concerns that the dam would disrupt the flow of the Xingu river - one of the Amazon's main tributaries - had not been met.'

    This is power-politics designed to cut Dilma down to size.

    Of course a hydroelectric dam disrupts the flow of a river - that's what it is designed to do!
    Diversion, impoundment and controlled release are what hydroelectric dams do.

    This is a tactic to screw even more concessions out of the federal budget to travel through the pockets of local politicians and leaders, with some of it actually reaching the individuals whose life and lifestyle will change as services reach these outlying communities.

    Feb 26th, 2011 - 10:29 am 0
  • Duglas

    My God. Run this guy for president.
    The first honest, intelligent judge in the history of Latin America !
    He'd better watch out tho....Dilm'as might put on her old fatigues and go stalking ! ;-)~

    Feb 26th, 2011 - 10:29 am 0
  • Forgetit87

    @Duglas
    He should be elected president because he doesn't understand that there's a need to expand energy production capacity and because he puts questionable environmental concerns above people's need for income and jobs?

    Feb 26th, 2011 - 10:34 am 0
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