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Environmental assessment of Nicaragua Canal comes under fire, while HKND & ERM defend safety & feasibility of project

Author: Keith Schneider, Circle of Blue, Published on: 15 June 2015

"Nicaragua Canal's environmental assessment comes under fire", 16th June 2015

...[I]n a made-for-television press event, a copy of the 14-volume Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of the proposed Nicaragua Canal was displayed on a small table for news photographers...ERM and HKND executives joined government authorities in asserting that the canal construction is safe and feasible...In an 11-page evaluation...the panel’s members concluded this spring that ERM’s environmental study is rife with significant flaws...At various points in their report, the panel castigated ERM for what they called “indefensible,” “implausible,” “wrong,” and “not realistic” scientific conclusions...

When asked about that concern, David Blaha, a principal partner at London-based ERM, emailed this response to Circle of Blue: “As you may know, ERM sponsored the expert panel. We did not need to do this but we believed a project of this magnitude deserved this level of review. ERM was very appreciative of the comments we received from the panel and we responded to all of their comments in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA). We believe the ESIA is a robust document and objectively evaluates the effects of the project. I encourage you to review the ESIA (or at least the executive summary), once it is available, before reaching any conclusions about the document.”...In [another] response, ERM generally agreed with the weaknesses in the work that the panel illustrated and said that some analysis had been reworked...In most cases, said ERM, the tight two-year deadline for completing the assessment for HKND meant its researchers often did not have sufficient time to conduct more thorough data gathering...

The Nicaraguan government has not made the ERM study public, nor has it indicated when it will do so. Panel members said it is imperative that the 14-volume study be available for public review... [see an earlier response from HKND on the planned Nicaragua Canal project]

Read the full post here

Related companies: ERM HKND Group