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Brazil: Belo Monte dam ruling reversed

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On March 3 a higher court in Brasilia overturned an earlier ruling by a Brazilian federal judge to suspend the license authorising work on the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric power station on the Xingu River in the Amazon. 

A report from the Latin American Herald Tribune gives more details on the earlier ruling:

“RIO DE JANEIRO – A Brazilian judge ordered the immediate suspension of the license authorizing work to begin on the massive Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in the Amazon jungle.

Construction of the 11,233 MW dam, which will be the third largest in the world if completed, has sparked harsh criticism from environmentalists, peasants and Indians, who fear that it will degrade the Xingu River, one of the Amazon’s main tributaries.Friday’s ruling also bans the transferral of funds to the construction companies involved by the state-run BNDES development bank, which is to provide 80 percent of the financing, the court in the northern state of Para, the site of the dam, said in a statement.

Judge Ronald Desterro ruled that the Brazilian Environment and Natural Resources Institute, or Ibama, granted the initial license on Jan. 26 without ensuring that 29 conditions had been met and without the Brazilian state-owned electricity distributor Companhia Hidro Eletrica do Sao Francisco having provided information on another 33 questions which it was required to answer.

Among the conditions that have not been met are measures to guarantee the navigability of the rivers in the region, support programs for the affected Indian populations and plans for restoring areas that become deteriorated.

Plans for constructing the 11,233 MW dam at Belo Monte has been met with heated opposition from indigenous and environmental groups both inside and outside of Brazil. If the project completed, some 121,600 acres of rainforest will be destroyed, and the tens of thousands of mostly indigenous peoples will be forced to relocate.

In contrast, for Brazil’s newly elected President Dilma, the dam signals an important step towards producing cheap and renewable electricity, which could offer enough energy to power an estimated 23 million homes and help drive development in the region.”

25/02/2011 – 20:54 – CAMPANHA URGENTE PELA MANUTENÇÃO DE LIMINAR CONTRA BELO MONTE

Recebemos com satisfação a decisão do Juiz Federal Ronaldo Desterro, da 9ª. Vara da Justiça Federal, em Belém, PA, que, em caráter liminar, decidiu “suspender a eficácia da licença de instalação número 770/2011 e da autorização de supressão de vegetação número 501/2011, bem como, determinar ao BNDES que se abstenha de transferir recursos financeiros à NESA…”.

Cientes de que a Advocacia Geral da União tentará, nas próximas horas, caçar a liminar ora concedida, conclamamos, todos e todas, a manifestarem-se junto ao Desembargador Federal, Olindo Menezes, presidente do Tribunal Regional Federal da 1ª. Região, em Brasília.

Segue abaixo sugestão de mensagem a ser enviada.

Conselho Indigenista Missionário

Sugestão de Mensagem

“Ao
Excelentíssimo Senhor
Desembargador Federal Olindo Menezes
MD Presidente do Tribunal Regional Federal da Primeira Região
falecompresidente@trf1.jus.br

Senhor Presidente,

Tomamos conhecimento da decisão, do Excelentíssimo Sr. Juiz Federal Ronaldo Desterro, da 9ª. Vara da Justiça Federal, em Belém, no âmbito da Ação Civil Pública 968-19.2011.4.01.3900, que suspendeu a eficácia da licença de instalação 770/2011 e da autorização de supressão de vegetação 501/2011, do IBAMA, bem como, determinou ao BNDES que se abstenha de transferir recursos financeiros à Norte Energia.

Entendemos que tal decisão foi acertada visto que demonstra uma vez mais os erros cometidos pela administração pública no processo de licenciamento da Usina Hidroelétrica de Belo Monte.

Por isso, vimos solicitar a manutenção de tal decisão até o julgamento do mérito da referida ACP.

Respeitosamente”