Brazil Judge suspends work on Belo Monte dam over risks to local fishing

by September 29, 2011
 

A Federal judge in Brazil has suspended work on the controversial Belo Monte dam project, citing concerns that it would impact local fish stocks and harm indigenous peoples who rely on fishing.

In his ruling, Judge Carlos Castro Martins explicitly forbade Norte Energia, the consortium behind the dam, from “building a port, using explosives, installing dikes, building canals and any other infrastructure work that would interfere with the natural flow of the Xingu river, thereby affecting local fish stocks” .

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Judge Martins also warned Norte Energia that it will face a daily fine of over US$100,000 if it fails to comply with the ruling.

However, according to the BBC, any work on the dam that wouldn’t effect local fishing can still continue, including the construction of “accommodation blocks for the project’s many workers”.

The consortium is also expected to appeal the ruling, even though it protects thousands of Indigenous Peoples and others in the Amazon region who rely on the Xingu river for subsistence.

The Belo Monte dam would divert about 80% the Xingu river, flooding about 500 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest and displacing more than 20,000 people.

In June of this year, Brazil’s environmental agency, IMBAMA, granted a license for the dam’s construction by dismissing these and many other impacts and risks stemming from the project.

Four months earlier, another federal judge said no to the construction, until the government met 29 environmental and social conditions. The government still has not met those conditions.

Stop the Belo Monte Monster Dam! Send a message to Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, urging her to defend the Amazon and its people by stopping the Belo Monte Dam!

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