Belo Monte Risks Paralyzation Over Consortium’s Grave Negligence

The Xingu River after being dammed

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Last week the Brazilian Federal Environmental Agency IBAMA released a report documenting the grave extent to which the Belo Monte dam-building consortium Norte Energia has neglected its legally mandated responsibility to mitigate the mega-dam's myriad socio-environmental impacts. By disregarding a series of "conditionalities" upon which the project's environmental license was granted, Norte Energia could be sanctioned by the institution, forcing the dam's construction to again grind to a halt.

IBAMA's report shows that Norte Energia has failed to complete one of the required infrastructure projects in the five municipalities impacted by Belo Monte. These include infrastructure to improve sanitation, health facilities, and education services in local cities, the population of which have swollen enormously since the initiation of the dam's construction. According to the report: "the gap between the construction of the Belo Monte Dam and the implementation of mitigation and compensation measures is clear."

The report also points to the arbitrary fall in required compensation payments from the consortium to families forced from their home by the dam's construction as well as for farmers, whose productive plantations were razed by the consortium.

The legal infraction represented by non-compliance with Belo Monte's conditionalities could lead IBAMA to refuse Norte Energia the next license they require to fill the dam's reservoir, seriously delaying the construction process. In addition to this major drawback, IBAMA is considering leveling administrative penalties against the consortium for its gross negligence of mitigation measures for a mega-project wreaking an immense socio-environmental toll on the Xingu basin.

More information here (in Portuguese).

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