Tag Archive for 'Amazon'

Mega-Dam in Peruvian Amazon Cancelled

Photo retrieved from: www.livingperu.com

“The Peruvian government announced yesterday that the massive Inambari Dam, planned on a major Amazonian tributary, had been cancelled after years of strong community opposition. For the past 36 days, close to 2,000 people in the Puno area had been on strike in an effort to convince the government to cancel mining concessions and the dam project. They blocked access roads to the region and held mass protests.

To appease the strikers, the government established a high-level commission to review the Inambari Dam. After a tense meeting with local communities on June 13, Commission Chair and Vice-Minister of Energy Luis Gonzales Talledo definitively cancelled the project, stating that the Brazilian EGASUR consortium’s rights to develop the project had been revoked.

“Although this resolution does not prevent the construction of all dams in the Inambari Basin, it is very important because it clearly cancels EGASUR’s participation. The resolution states that all future proposed projects must be subjected to prior consultation with local communities according to ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, which is an important precedent,” said Aldo Santos, from local NGO SER (Rural Educational Services).

For over three years, affected communities have opposed the Inambari Dam, which would flood 410 square kilometers of forest, including part of the Bahujan Sonene National Park buffer zone. The project would leave more than 15,000 people without agricultural lands and thus their main source of livelihoods. Flooding of 120 km of the recently built Inter-Oceanic Highway would sever access to markets and affect the economic development of the district of San Gaban and the province of Carabaya in Puno State.”

Read more: International Rivers

Emerging Powers Harnessing Neighbours’ Hydroelectricity

The Madeira river, where Brazil hopes to build a hydropower plant under an agreement with Bolivia. Photo retrieved from: www.ipsnews.net

“Emerging countries like Brazil and China are building numerous hydroelectric dams at home and abroad to help drive their economic growth. But while in Latin America the phenomenon is touted as an integration process, in Asia it has generated tension over the shared use of rivers.

Brazil, the leader of this strategy in Latin America, has an agreement to build five hydropower dams in Peru, and is interested in building two similar plants, which would depend on reaching agreements with Bolivia: a joint venture between the two countries on the stretch of the Madeira river that forms part of the border between them, and a Bolivian plant.

A large part of the energy generated by these projects will be exported to Brazil, whose government projects an annual 5.9 percent increase in demand for energy from now to 2019, when the country will need 167,000 MW, over two-thirds of which will come from hydroelectricity.

Building dams outside of the country is one way to evade stiff opposition from environmentalists and indigenous groups in the Brazilian Amazon, where nearly all of the country’s as-yet untapped hydropower potential is found.

Cachuela Esperanza on the Beni river in northern Bolivia, near the Brazilian border, will have a potential of 990 MW, according to a project drawn up by Tecsult, a leading Canadian consulting firm. That is nearly the equivalent of Bolivia’s entire demand for energy. ”

Read more: IPS

A Mega-Dam Dilemma in the Amazon

Photo retrieved from: www.smithsonian.com

“Puerto Maldonado is the capital of Peru’s Madre de Dios region (similar to an American state), which abuts Bolivia and Brazil. The area is almost all rain forest and until recent decades was one of South America’s least populated and most inaccessible areas. But today it is a critical part of Latin America’s economic revolution. Poverty rates are dropping, consumer demand is rising and infrastructure development is on a tear. One of the biggest projects, the $2 billion Inter-oceanic Highway, is nearly complete—and runs straight through Puerto Maldonado. Once open, the highway is expected to see 400 trucks a day carrying goods from Brazil to Peruvian ports.

Later this year a consortium of Brazilian construction and energy companies plans to start building a $4 billion hydroelectric dam on the Inambari River, which starts in the Andes and empties into the Madre de Dios River near Puerto Maldonado. When the dam is completed, in four to five years, its 2,000 megawatts of installed capacity—a touch below that of the Hoover Dam—will make it the largest hydroelectric facility in Peru and the fifth-largest in all of South America.

The Inambari dam, pending environmental impact studies, will be built under an agreement signed last summer in Manaus, Brazil, by Peruvian President Alan García and Brazil’s then-president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.”

Read more: Smithsonian

Ecuador Court Orders Chevron To Pay $8 billion

About 916 pits were used by Texaco Petroleum, the US oil major, and PetroEcuador, the state company, for the 23 years before Texaco’s exit from the country in 1992. Photo retrieved from: www.http://pangaea-yep.com

“A court in Ecuador’s Amazon jungle ordered Chevron Corp to pay more than $8 billion in damages on Monday in a closely watched environmental suit, the plaintiffs’ lawyer said.

But the U.S. oil company vowed to appeal, meaning the long-running case dating from drilling in the South American nation during the 1970s and 1980s could last for years more.

The case, which activists portray as a fight for justice against rich polluters but Chevron says is more to do with opportunism, has triggered related legal action in U.S. courts and international arbitration.

It is being monitored by the oil industry for precedents that could lead to other large claims. Chevron had expected to lose the case in the Ecuadorean court.

In a statement on Monday, Chevron did not give any figure from the ruling by the court in Lago Agrio, but said it believed the judgment was “illegitimate” and “unenforceable in any court that observes the rule of law.”

It said the United States and international tribunals had already taken steps to bar enforcement of the ruling.

Pablo Fajardo, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the court had ordered Chevron to pay more than $8 billion damages.

The lawsuit had originally demanded $27 billion.

LENGTHY APPEALS

Residents of Ecuador’s Amazon region have said faulty drilling practices by Texaco, which was bought by Chevron in 2001, caused damage to wide areas of jungle and harmed indigenous people in the 1970s and 1980s.”

Read more: Los Angeles Times

Dam-Affected People Deliver Half a Million Signatures to Stop Belo Monte

Photo retrieved from: www.riotimesonline.com

“A delegation of leaders went inside the Presidential Palace around noon to present the petition, among them were Kayapó chiefs Raoni Metuktire and Megaron Txucarramãe from Mato Grosso state; Chief Ozimar Juruna, from Paquicamba village in Altamira; Josinei Arara, leader of Arara village in Altamira; Sheyla Juruna a leader of the Juruna people; and Antonia Melo, coordinator of the Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre.

“This is a life and death struggle,” stated Sheyla Juruna, one of the delegates who met with the Office of the President. “By pushing forward with this dam, the Dilma government is trampling on our rights. This is not just about defending the Xingu River, it’s about the health of the Amazon rainforest and our planet.”

Opposition to the dam project is growing among diverse sectors of civil society including scientists, politicians, dam-affected communities, environmentalists, and celebrities. At the rally today, Domingos Dutra, Labor Party Congressman from Mato Grosso and leading member of the Human Rights Commission of Congress challenged the government’s ambitious plans to promote an archaic energy model that includes plans for more than 60 major dams for the Amazon. Brazilian singer and songwriter Marlui Miranda performed at the demonstration while Marcos Palmeira, Dira Paes, Leticia Spiller and Brita Brazil were among Brazilian artists who issued written statements opposing the dam and calling for greener energy alternatives for meeting Brazil’s energy needs.”

Read more: International Rivers

IBAMA President Resigns Over Belo Monte Licensing

Ex-President of IBAMA, Abelardo Bayma Azevedo, at a briefing. Photo retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

“The President of Brazil’s environmental agency IBAMA, Abelardo Bayma Azevedo, submitted a letter of resignation yesterday after facing heavy pressure to grant a full installation license for the Belo Monte Complex, another victim in a long-running political war over environmental licensing between Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy and its Ministry of the Environment. The victims keep piling up, and it’s bad for the Amazon.

Brazil’s Big Bad Wolf Attacks Again

Azevedo is the latest victim of a feud between the ministries heavily influenced by Minister of Mines and Energy Edison Lobão (“big wolf” in Portuguese) and newly elected President Dilma Rousseff. Lobão recently replaced Márcio Zimmerman as Dilma’s Minister of Mines and Energy, returning in 2011 after a first term under Lula during 2008-2010. Lobão has also served three consecutive terms as Senator of the State of Maranhão, and one as Governor of Maranhão between 1991-1994.

To no one’s surprise, Lobão has had a particularly voracious appetite for environmentalists and Amazon defenders.”

Read more: International Rivers

3 Countries in South America Defending Local Rights Against Destructive Water Projects

Photo retrieved from: www.alternet.org

“South America is home to some of the most biodiverse, and ethnically diverse, regions in the world, but some of the precious water resources are being used to boost energy for some while threatening local ecosystems and the health and survival of thousands, if not millions, of others.

Here are three controversial projects that may boost energy or agricultural production, but not without tradeoffs. It sure does complicate the clean energy discussion—hydropower is cleaner than fossil fuels, but is it a perfect solution? Not if you ask the people living near the proposed dam sites.

Brazil

The Brazilian government is moving ahead on plans for the world’s third-largest dam, Belo Monte, despite years of protests from both local and international communities and organizations.

Critics say the project, to be built on a tributary of the Amazon, will ruin the local environment and displace 50,000 (mostly indigenous) people—if not threaten the survival of indigenous groups entirely. Despite the protests, President Lula da Silva gave the formal go-ahead last month.

Ecuador

A giant hydroelectric project funded by China would threaten Ecuador’s highest waterfall, San Rafael Falls, which sits in a crucial transition zone between the Andes and the Amazon.”

Read more: AlterNet