Watchdog challenges plan for huge Amazon dam


Brazil’s government has formally endorsed construction of what would be the largest hydroelectric dam in the Amazon, a US$8-10 billion, 11,183-megawatt behemoth slated for the Xingú River. But a watchdog agency is challenging the highly controversial project’s environmental assessment in court, intensifying debate here about whether the country’s energy needs justify large-scale inundation of rainforest land. The endorsement of the Belo Monte project came in the form of a unanimous June 23 decision by the National Energy Policy Council (CNPE), a nine-member panel of cabinet ministers, to auction a concession for the dam’s construction and operation. Though Environment Minister Carlos Minc was among the CNPE ministers voting to seek bids, not all government authorities are going along with the project. On... [Log in to read more]

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