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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), Published on: 24 September 2015

“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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