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SMEC says community opposition impede consultation on dam project

Author: David Hopkins, Irrawaddy (Myanmar), Published on: 18 June 2015

"Australian Firm Says Community Opposition Impeding Consultations on Controversial Dam", 16 June 2015

An Australian company contracted to assess the potential environmental and social impact of the planned Mongton dam has responded to recent criticism of the consultation process, saying that interference with its data collection efforts could lead to “suboptimal outcomes for the affected communities.” The Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) has faced significant local opposition since holding its first public consultations on the project on March 10 in Taunggyi, Shan State...SMEC was appointed to conduct the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) for the hydropower project which is backed by three Chinese companies, China Three Gorges Corporation, China Southern Power Grid and Sinohydro; the state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT); and local conglomerate the International Group of Entrepreneurs...In a statement...SMEC acknowledged opposition to the Mongton project and the notion of hydropower on the Salween River in general, but stressed that EIA/SIA meetings were “forums for the exchange of technical information” and not “platforms for political lobbying and demonstration.” The firm warned that “important future decisions may be based on poor or incomplete data” if the EIA/SIA process was disrupted. “Disruption of technical meetings by organised groups and demonstrations, often by people from outside the area, does have the potential to impede the information gathering process and ultimately is a disservice to the communities and stakeholders that may be directly impacted by the project,” SMEC said.


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Related companies: Sinohydro