April 15, 2010

Dam suspended with Cameron's help

Amazon defenders win bid to stall huge dam project

By Alan ClendenningEnvironmentalists aided by "Avatar" director James Cameron celebrated a big win Thursday after a judge suspended bidding on construction and operation of an Amazon dam that would be the planet's third-largest.

The ruling also resulted in the suspension of the hydroelectric project's environmental license. It was reminiscent of 1989, when rock star Sting protested the same dam alongside Indians in an event that helped persuade international lenders not to finance it at a time when Brazil was shuddering under a heavy foreign debt.
Cameron's role:Increasing international condemnation won't reverse Brazilian policy makers' view that the dam is essential to provide a huge injection of renewable energy, said Christopher Garman, director of Latin American analysis at the Eurasia Group in Washington.

"This dam is going to happen. It's just a matter of when it happens," Garman said.

Brazil has a fragile energy grid that was hit last year by a blackout that darkened much of the nation. Belo Monte would supply 6 percent of the country's electricity needs by 2014, the same year Brazil will host soccer's World Cup and just two years before Rio de Janeiro holds the 2016 Olympics.

Soltani disagreed that the construction of the 11,000-megawatt dam is inevitable, saying Cameron's involvement was a major advance and attracted attention that could "create pressure on the (Silva) administration and on the Brazilian public, and hopefully will encourage the Brazilian public to take a stand."
Comment:  Another excellent example of how complaining, criticizing, and protesting work. If you have a loud enough voice, as Cameron does, people will listen to you.

Alas, the suspension lasted only a day. According to the NY Times (4/16/10):[B]y Friday, the dam was back on the table. A judge in the capital, Brasília, overturned the ruling and said the auction would take place as scheduled.No doubt the story is far from over. Activists and Indians working together still may achieve their goals.

For more on the subject, see Cameron's Conversion to Environmentalist and Cameron Criticizes Hydroelectric Dam.

Below:  "Director James Cameron marches during a protest against a proposed dam in the Amazon in Brasilia Monday." (AP)

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