Brazilian judge orders construction of Amazon dam to stop

Source: The Guardian

A Brazilian judge has ordered construction to be suspended on a controversial hydroelectric dam in the Amazon.

In his ruling, Judge Carlos Castro Martins said that all working on the Belo Monte dam that interfered with the natural course of the Xingu river should be halted because of the risk that fish stocks would be damaged.

The £7bn dam would reputedly be the third largest in the world, after China’s Three Gorges and the Itaipu project on the Brazil-Paraguay border.

The injunction is the latest development in a decades-long battle against the Belo Monte dam, plans for which were conceived in the mid-1970s but subsequently shelved after protests.

Brazil’s government argues that the dam is essential to the energy needs of the country’s booming economy. A full environmental licence for the construction was issued in June, with federal authorities promising a series of initiatives to lessen the social and environmental impact of the dam.

On Tuesday, activists from the anti-dam Xingu Para Sempre movement claimed the project had brought unprecedented chaos to the riverside town of Altamira, with thousands of impoverished migrants having arrived by boat or road in search of work.

“Nothing good is coming to the region and all of our darkest prophesies are coming true,” Antonia Melo, one of the movement’s leaders, said.

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