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Brazil: Environmental protection agency withholds license for Belo Monte dam citing failure to mitigate impacts on affected peoples' rights

Brazil indigenous people occupy Belo Monte Dam project 2012_credit_International Rivers_http://www.internationalrivers.org/resources/9135

IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) has temporarily denied the operation license to Norte Energia, the consortium building Belo Monde dam. The denial is for non-compliance of legal measures to mitigate impacts and protect the human rights of the affected population by the dam construction.

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24 September 2015

Brazil: Environmental protection agency withholds license for Belo Monte dam citing failure to mitigate impacts on affected peoples' rights

Author: Bruce Douglas, The Guardian (UK)

“Brazil threatens to withhold licence for Belo Monte dam over mitigation worries-Without an operating licence the hydroelectric plant will stand unused but projects to limit the impact on the local community remain incomplete”, 23 September 2015

Brazil’s controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric plant is facing another setback after the country’s environmental protection agency, Ibama, threatened to withhold an operating licence until the consortium which built the dam completes mitigation projects in the area to be affected. Without the operating licence, Norte Energia…is banned from flooding Belo Monte’s reservoir. Without the water in the reservoir, the turbines of the world’s third-largest hydroelectric power plant…will remain unused. Brazil’s national human rights council voted unanimously to advise Ibama…to withhold the licence over Norte Energia’s grave violations of human rights and failure to comply with the terms of its contract…Ibama said it would withhold the licence until the consortium had completed mitigation projects it had promised. Environmental campaigners welcomed the decision. “If Ibama is serious about the consortium implementing all the conditionalities of the project, we could be in for a significant delay,” said Brent Millikan,…of…International Rivers. But Norte Energia insisted that the Ibama order was not a rejection of its application but rather a call for the company to provide proof of the projects it had undertaken to compensate the local community for the impact of the dam…Ibama listed 12 areas which “threatened the issuance of the operating licence”, including Norte Energia’s failure to “conclude the relocation of the population based in the area directly affected [by the dam], especially … the residents of the islands and banks of the Xingu river”…

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24 September 2015

Brazil: Intl. Rivers welcomes move & calls on firm to compensate affected people

Author: Brent Millikan, International Rivers

“Press Release | Breaking News: Brazil’s Environmental Agency Denies Operating License to Controversial Belo Monte Dam”, 23 September 2015

…[T]he Brazilian press reported that the…Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama)…[has]… temporarily denied Norte Energia’s request for an operating license for Belo Monte Dam, citing serious examples of non-compliance with legally required measures to mitigate and compensate project impacts. Without the license, Norte Energia can’t close floodgates and fill a reservoir that will flood large portions of the city of Altamira before it begins generating power. In response to Ibama’s announcement, International Rivers released the following statement…Brent Millikan: “…We have to give Ibama due credit for this move,…coming after a long history of negligence...[and]…finally acknowledging…that Norte Energia is not complying with project conditionalities and doing something about it…People’s rights have been steamrolled and livelihoods have been devastated. But the Brazilian government has invested billions…into this project,…they’re not going to pack up and go home…[W]hat can be done to minimize the damage?...Ibama needs to hold firm to this decision and…compensate the people who’ve been forcibly displaced and whose livelihoods have been devastated. The Brazilian government…needs…to protect indigenous territories,…under…pressure from illegal logging and mining…[and]…address the impending consequences for indigenous peoples, fishermen and other local populations…

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