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BRAZIL
Amazon state attorney seeks to stop hydroelectric project
4/14/2010
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Pará´s state attorney files motion to cancel project´s environmental license, fearing impact on local communities.

The Federal Public Ministry, or state attorney´s office, in the northern Amazon state of Pará filed a motion on April 8 to cancel the environmental permit for the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant and halt construction, fearing serious damage to the local forests and indigenous populations.

Brazilian Environment and Natural Resource Institute granted the permit two months ago, but the state attorney argued that there is a lack of scientific evidence proving that the US$10.6 billion-project is environmental sound.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said he would seek an auction for the mega-project.

The dam required for the plant, which would become the third-largest in the world after the Three Gorges Dam in China and the Itaipu Dam on the border of Brazil and Paraguay, would deviate a 100-kilometer stretch of the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon River, and affect 11 indigenous communities and 66 municipalities in Pará.

The state attorney said in a statement that respect for the local biodiversity and the population´s survival is in doubt.

The plant would product 11,000 megawatts.

The Social-Environment Institute, a nongovernmental organization, sent a letter signed by 100 other organizations to United Nations human rights experts, warning that the project would put indigenous communities´ rights in jeopardy as they “would have to move and they are not expected to receive any compensation.”

Mons. Edwin Kräutler, bishop of the Xingu Prelature and president of the Indigenous Missionary Council, said that the communities were not sufficiently informed and consulted about the project. “The affected communities and indigenous people were not sufficiently heard,” he said.
—Latinamerica Press.


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