Applaud Brazil for Halting Amazon Dam Construction

no belo monte dam

Target: Brazil Federal Court Officials

Goal: Commend Brazil’s Federal Court Officials for standing with the Amazon’s indigenous people and holding Norte Energía accountable for not fulfilling the responsibility of conducting an environmental impact study for their controversial dam.

Brazil’s Federal Court recently ruled that the construction of the Belo Monte dam across the Xingu River in the Amazon must be suspended until indigenous people of the region can express their concerns at a congressional hearing. The fact that the Brazilian government is halting construction already underway to hear from native communities directly affected by the hydroelectric dam reflects a rare degree of respect that deserves public recognition.

The Belo Monte hydroelectric dam project has been controversial from the start. The dam is intended to be the third-biggest in the world, after China’s facility in the Three Gorges and Brazil’s own dam in the southern Itaipu River. It is designed to produce 11,000 megawatts of power. In order to do so, the dam must flood an area of 500 square kilometers (200 square miles), causing the displacement of thousands of people. The government calculated that approximately 16,000 people would be displaced, but various NGOs have explained that the real number of people displaced would be up to 40,000.

In addition to the effects the dam would inevitably have on the lives of the indigenous people of the region, environmentalists warn of the dam’s effects on the ecosystem. The dam would cause irreparable damage to the jungle due to deforestation necessary for construction, resulting in habitat loss for countless populations of animal species. The greenhouse-gas emissions from the dam once constructed would accelerate climate change.

The dam was approved by Brazil’s Congress in 2005, with the condition that the Norte Energía consortium in charge of the project conduct an environmental impact study after construction began. Under that same environmental study, native communities of the region have the right to express their concerns. Norte Energía, however, has not even begun an environmental impact study even though work on the dam began a year ago.

In order to demand that Norte Energía honor their commitment to Congress and the environment, about 150 indigenous activists recently occupied one of the dam’s four construction sites for three weeks. While their actions won them the support of Brazil’s Federal Court Officials, Norte Energía can still appeal the decision to a higher court.

Sign the petition below to commend Brazil’s Federal Court Officials for standing with the Amazon’s indigenous people and holding Norte Energía accountable for not fulfilling the responsibility of conducting an environmental impact study for their controversial dam.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Federal Official of Brazil,

I am writing to commend you for making the decision to suspend further construction of the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam project until indigenous people of the region can express their concerns at a congressional hearing.

As you are aware, the dam would force the displacement of thousands of people. Your government calculated that approximately 16,000 people would be displaced, but various organizations have explained that the real number of people displaced would be up to 40,000.

In addition to the effects the dam would inevitably have on the lives of the indigenous people of the region, various environmentalists have warned of the dam’s effects on the ecosystem. The dam would cause irreparable damage to the jungle due to deforestation necessary for construction, resulting in habitat loss for countless populations of animal species. The greenhouse-gas emissions from the dam once constructed would accelerate climate change.

Due to the dam’s potential for negative environmental and human consequences, it is absolutely important that the Norte Energia consortium in charge of the project fulfill their responsibility of conducting an environmental impact statement that takes into account the opinions of native communities that would be affected by the dam. I hope you continue to stand with your people by continuing to hold Norte Energía fully accountable.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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3 Comments

  1. Daniela Bress says:

    Energy produced by more and more destruction of important forests and natural balanced environment is definitely NOT the kind of energy the world needs,anymore.

    I have great respect for these judges and hope the Brazilians succeed in stopping this madness finally!

  2. This is exactly what we need more of. Kudos to Brazil. I hope they’re able to have success.

  3. Please continue to protect and speak out against this terrible injustice – thank you

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