Brazil judge orders work on huge Amazon dam halted

Oct 28, 2013
An aerial view of the first stage of the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Plant dam construction, in a site named Power House on the Xingu River near Altamira, Para state, Brazil on May 30, 2012

A Brazilian judge has ordered that work on the controversial Belo Monte dam in the Amazon be halted on grounds that environmental commitments were not met, the court said Monday.

A spokesman for the Federal Court in Brasilia said Judge Antonio Souza issued the ruling Friday, suspending the project's environmental license as well at the dam, located in the northern state of Para, following objections from state prosecutors

The said the license was granted on condition that the environmental commitments be honored.

The ruling also means that Brazil's BNDES development bank, which is bankrolling the project, is barred from disbursing funds until the commitments are met.

"We are not against the country's development. But we say that the law must be applied," said Para prosecutor Thais Santi.

Norte Energia, the consortium in charge of the construction work, told AFP it had yet to be notified of the court's decision.

It insisted that it was "rigorously complying with its obligations and commitments."

Indigenous groups fear the dam across the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon, will harm their way of life. Environmentalists have warned of deforestation, and irreparable damage to the ecosystem.

Belo Monte, a $13 billion project aiming to produce 11,000 megawatts of electricity, is expected to flood a 500-square-kilometer (200-square-mile) area, displacing 16,000 people, according to the government.

It would be the third-biggest in the world,after China's Three Gorges and Brazil's Itaipu in the south.

Explore further: Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

Related Stories

Brazil's natives protest dam construction

Jun 11, 2013

Indigenous activists occupied the headquarters of a government agency Tuesday to demand a voice in the construction of a controversial dam in the Amazon.

Judge scraps Amazon dam hearing

Oct 15, 2012

A federal judge has suspended a planned hearing for fishermen and indigenous people occupying a disputed dam in Brazil's Amazon after they failed to vacate the site, developers said.

Brazil resumes work on major dam after protests

Oct 19, 2012

Work has resumed on the massive Belo Monte Dam in Brazil's Amazon after the public consortium reached a deal with indigenous groups and fishermen who had occupied one of its building sites.

Brazil judge says work can resume at Amazon dam

Dec 17, 2011

A judge in Brazil on Friday revoked his own order to halt work on a controversial $11 billion dam in the Amazon region, a project that has been criticized by environmentalists and native groups.

Recommended for you

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

20 hours ago

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess—a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation ...

Cities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

20 hours ago

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

Will climate change put mussels off the menu?

20 hours ago

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface ...

As nations dither, cities pick up climate slack

Jul 02, 2015

Their national governments hamstrung by domestic politics, stretched budgets and diplomatic inertia, many cities and provinces have taken a leading role—driven by necessity—in efforts to arrest galloping ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.