Update on Monte Belo DamA news item here a year ago [11 Feb. 2010 World’s 3rd Largest Dam?] reported that “the Brazilian government has granted an environmental licence for the Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River tributary of the Amazon, near Altamira in Northern Brazil.” That was in spite of widespread opposition from community and environmental groups. Now the next step has been taken with the granting of a ‘partial’ installation licence. It allows the dam builder [Norte Energia] to build access roads and start clearing forest from dam construction sites. It is claimed by opposition groups [and reportedly also by the Government’s own Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office] that the dam builder has not complied with environmental and social requirements for an installation licence and that there is no provision for a ‘partial’ licence in Brazilian law. The Public Prosecutor is quoted as saying that the Environmental Agency which granted the licence [IBAMA] is “putting the region at a high social and environmental risk by granting a license allowing installation of the construction site while not requiring compliance with legally-mandated safeguards.” The Environmental Agency’s President recently resigned, reportedly in connection with the licence and related political pressure. The Brazilian National Development Bank has decided to not release funds from a US$640 million loan to the dam builder until 40 social and environmental loan conditions are met and a full installation licence is issued.
Sources: http://www.waterlink-international.com/news/id1666-Approval_for_Belo_Monte_Dam.html?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20110202+-+WL ; http://www.internationalrivers.org/en/2011-2-3/developer-backing-out-loan-construction-risky-belo-monte-dam