Uproar over Amazon Dam Plan

Manila Bulletin, February 3, 2010 | Go to article overview

Uproar over Amazon Dam Plan


BRASILIA (AFP) – Environmentalists, indigenous groups and British rock star Sting have denounced a government plan to build the world's third largest hydroelectric dam in the Amazon River basin, which they claim will devastate the region.The government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday approved the $11-billion Belo Monte project on the Xingu River that will flood 500 square kilometers and supply 11 percent of Brazil's electricity.Detractors say the dam in northern Para state will trigger droughts along a 100 kilometer stretch of the Xingu, displace thousands of indigenous people, attract an army of job-seekers, and accelerate the deforestation and destruction of the rain forest.Environment Minister Carlos Minc told reporters Monday that the dam project has been issued "the most demanding environmental license in history," including $800 million to mitigate environmental damage and protect indigenous areas.The project's construction contract will go up bidding in April.If completed, Belo Monte would become Brazil's second-largest hydroelectric dam behind Itaipu and the world's third largest behind China's Three Gorges dam."This project only benefits companies... it will generate methane gas that will change the climate and displace 30,000 people," Xingu Vivo Movement's Antonia Melo told AFP. …

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