June 11, 2013. Source: WW4 Report
Members of 27 campesino communities in the San Francisco district of Panama’s western Veraguas province held a protest on June 7 to demand the cancellation of permits given for the construction of the Lalin 1, Lalin 2 and Lalin 3 hydroelectric projects on the Gatú river. The protesters charged that there were irregularities in the environmental impact studies for the dams. They also said that they hadn’t been consulted on the projects and that the companies involved were ignoring an order from San Francisco’s mayor to suspend construction. The communities proposed the promotion of cooperatives, ecological tourism and farming based on ecological principles as alternatives to what they consider the government’s bad development policies. The demonstration ended without incident, although the protesters complained about the presence of investigative and anti-riot police. Veraguas’ governor agreed to start negotiations with the campesinos. (Radio Temblor, Panama, June 7)
Meanwhile, the indigenous Ngöbe Buglé are continuing to protest the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project in their territory in the western province of Chiriquí. According to Ricardo Miranda, a spokesperson for the April 10 Movement, various communities in the area carried out actions on May 24 to demand the project’s cancellation. Miranda called on traditional Ngöbe-Buglé leader (cacica) Silvia Carrera to give up on the negotiations being held with the government at the United Nations (UN) office in Panama City. Even though an independent study mandated by a UN report last year still hasn’t been completed, Generadora del Istmo, S.A. (GENISA), the Honduran-owned company building the dam, says the project is now 40% complete. The company indicated that it was reforesting the area around the dam to compensate for clearing done in the construction. (Radio Nacional de Venezuela, May 27, some from Prensa Latina)
Filed under Actions / Protest, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Green Economy, Hydroelectric dams, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water
June 11, 2013. Source: WW4 Report
March on June 6th against the Belo Monte dam. Photo: Agência Brasil
Security guards shot and seriously injured an indigenous Terena, Josiel Gabriel Alves, on June 4 when a group of about 60 protesters tried to occupy the São Sebastião estate in Sidrolandia municipality in the southern Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Doctors said Gabriel might lose the use of his arms and legs. This was the second shooting in less than a week in an ongoing dispute over lands claimed by the Terena: Osiel Gabriel, Josiel Gabriel’s cousin, was killed by federal police on May 30 at a nearby estate. The Terena have been occupying several large estates in Sidrolandia since May 15; they say the estates are on land the federal government designated as indigenous territory in 2010. The 28,000 Terena live on just 20,000 hectares in Mato Grosso. (Adital, Brazil, June 5)
On June 6 Terena activists joined with representatives of the Munduruku indigenous group for protests at government offices in Brasilia. The Munduruku are among eight indigenous groups that have repeatedly occupied construction sites at the Belo Monte dam in the northern Brazilian state of Pará over the past year; the most recent occupation took place on May 28. The protests have held up work on the dam, which is projected to be the world’s third largest when completed. Some 140 Munduruku were in Brasilia for a meeting with Presidency Minister Gilberto Carvalho and other government officials on June 4. Valdenir Munduruku, a spokesperson for the group, told Brazilian media that the activists are demanding a complete halt of construction until indigenous people in the region have been consulted on the project, as required by International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169. Brazil has signed on to the convention, which guarantees a number of rights for indigenous people, including the right to prior consultation on projects that will affect their communities. The Munduruku are threatening to resume the occupation if they aren’t satisfied with the results of negotiations. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Green Economy, Hydroelectric dams, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water
By Anthony Boadle and Caroline Stauffer, June 4 2013. Source: Reuters
Munduruku Indians pass through a metal detector as they arrive for a meeting with the Minister of the General Secretariat of the Presidency, Gilberto Carvalho, at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, June 4, 2013. Photo: Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino
BRASILIA/SAO PAULO - President Dilma Rousseff’s government said on Tuesday it would send 110 federal troops to the Brazilian farm state of Mato Grosso do Sul to try to prevent more violence between Indians claiming their ancestral territory and ranchers.
The government has been struggling to defuse tensions with indigenous tribes over farmland in several states as well as over hydroelectric dams in the Amazon.
Tensions escalated in a disputed property in Mato Grosso do Sul that was invaded last week for a second time by Terena Indians angered by the fatal shooting of one of their tribe’s members. Local media said the man’s cousin was shot and injured on a nearby ranch on Tuesday.
“We must avoid radicalizing a situation that goes back a long way in Brazilian history,” Justice Minister Jose Cardozo told reporters after meeting lawmakers from Mato Grosso do Sul in Brasilia. Continue reading
By Ed McKenna, June 5, 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Ethiopia invests more of its resources in hydropower than any other country in Africa – one third of its total GNP of about 77 billion dollars. Photo: William Davison/IPS
ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s long-term hydropower strategy is proving to be both a source of economic sustenance and contention. In becoming Africa’s leading power exporter through the construction of a series of dams across the country, Ethiopia could threaten the lives of millions who depend on the Nile River’s waters.
This Horn of Africa nation invests more of its resources in hydropower than any other country in Africa – one third of its total GNP of about 77 billion dollars.
But at the centre of Ethiopia’s hydropower development is a tough ethical question: which has the greater negative impact?
Alessandro Palmieri, a lead dam specialist at the World Bank, told IPS: “Is it the impact on Ethiopia’s population (who will not have electricity) … or the negative impact on half a million people (who will be displaced by the construction of the dams)? One tree falling always makes more sound than 10,000 trees growing.”
Ethiopia has ambitious targets. It currently generates 2,000 MW from six hydroelectric dams and will increase its power generation to 15,000 GWh, according to state power provider Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation(EEPCO). Continue reading
Filed under Africa, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Hydroelectric dams, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water, World Bank
By Aaron Lakoff, May 1 2013. Source: Briarpatch Magazine
Illustration by Shantala Robinson
One year after the student strikes and Maple Spring that erupted in Quebec in 2012, the ongoing wave of social protests is having to recalibrate itself to meet a new set of challenges.
Former Liberal premier Jean Charest incited popular outrage with a proposed university tuition hike and broader austerity measures, but with last September’s election of Parti Québécois (PQ) leader Pauline Marois, many are finding that the neoliberal policies of the Charest government are only taking on slightly subtler forms. In late February, Marois held a two-day summit on post-secondary education and announced that her government would continue to increase tuition costs, much to the chagrin of the student movement.
Also continuing is the northern Quebec development project known as Plan Nord under the previous provincial government and recently rebranded Le Nord Pour Tous under Marois. According to its official website, Plan Nord is a 25-year project estimated to bring in $80 billion in investments and create 20,000 jobs in mining, forestry, and dam projects. On February 9, 36 people were arrested at protests outside a trade fair on natural resource industries in Montreal, where demonstrators chanted “Charest, Marois, même combat!” (“Charest, Marois, the same fight!”) and decried what they saw as the same colonial development plan with a new name. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Hydroelectric dams, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Political Repression, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Water
May 3, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Photo: Amazon Watch
Altamira, Brazil – Some 200 indigenous people affected by the construction of large hydroelectric dams in the Amazon launched an occupation today on one of the main construction sites of the Belo Monte dam complex on the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon. The group demands that the Brazilian government adopt effective legislation on prior consultations with indigenous peoples regarding projects that affect their lands and livelihoods. As this has not happened, they are demanding the immediate suspension of construction, technical studies and police operations related to dams along the Xingu, Tapajos and Teles Pires rivers. Shock troops of the military police were awaiting indigenous protestors when they arrived at the Belo Monte dam site, but they were unable to impede the occupation.
The indigenous protestors include members of the Juruna, Kayapó, Xipaya, Kuruaya, Asurini, Parakanã, Arara tribes from the Xingu River, as well as warriors of the Munduruku, a large tribe from the neighboring Tapajós river basin. The indigenous peoples are joined by fishermen and local riverine communities from the Xingu region. Initial reports indicate that approximately 6,000 workers at one of the main Belo Monte construction sites, Pimental, have ceased operations as a result of the protest. The occupation, according to the indigenous communities, will continue indefinitely or until the federal government meets their demands. Continue reading
By Christopher Martin, April 23, 2013. Source: Bloomberg
More than half the U.S. states with laws requiring utilities to buy renewable energy are considering ways to pare back those mandates after a plunge in natural gas prices brought on by technology that boosted supply.
Sixteen of the 29 states with renewable portfolio standards are considering legislation that would reduce the need for wind and solar power, according to researchers backed by the U.S. Energy Department. North Carolina lawmakers may be among the first to move, followed by Colorado and Connecticut.
The efforts could benefit U.S. utilities such as Duke Energy Corp (DUK). and PG&E Corp (PCG). as well as Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM)., the biggest U.S. oil producer, and Peabody Energy Corp (BTU)., the largest U.S. coal mining company. Those companies contributed to at least one of the lobby groups pushing the change, according to the Center for Media and Democracy, a Madison, Wisconsin-based non-profit group. It would hurt wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) and First Solar Inc (FSLR)., which develops solar farms.
“We’re opposed to these mandates, and 2013 will be the most active year ever in terms of efforts to repeal them,” said Todd Wynn, task force director for energy of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or Alec, a lobby group pushing for the change. “Natural gas is a clean fuel, and regulators and policy makers are seeing how it’s much more affordable than renewable energy.”
By David P. Ball. April 11, 2013. Source: Indian Country Today Media Network
Photo: Derek Montague/The Labradorian
A 74-year old Inuit elder has ended a hunger strike and been released from jail after being arrested along with seven others protesting the controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam on the Churchill River in Labrador.
But another of the arrestees says the protesters, who have been fighting for decades to gain full national recognition as Inuit descendants in Canada’s easternmost province, are undaunted.
“We’ve been pushed around for generations,” said Todd Russell, president of the NunatuKavut Community Council (formerly the Labrador Métis Association), who was taken into custody along with Elder James Learning for blocking roads to protest the controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. “We will defend ourselves in the court system, but we will continue to assert our aboriginal rights to our traditional territory, and we will continue to mount protest after protest if that’s what it takes to have our views known and our rights respected.”
At issue is the Muskrat Falls power project, a $7.7-billion plan to build a hydroelectric power station and a new dam on the Churchill River. The project would also see massive transmission lines installed to supply power to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
By Melinda Boh, April 12 2013. Source: Asia Times
World Bank-backed Nam Theun 2 mega-dam in Laos under construction in 2009. Photo: Top News
VIENTIANE – It was once referred to by US magazine Newsweek as a “kinder, gentler” type of dam. Since the Nam Theun 2 hydropower dam commenced commercial operations in 2010, the World Bank and other proponents of the multi-billion dollar power project have trumpeted it as an economic and social development success story for host country Laos.
But with the negative publicity and diplomatic tussles now focused on the proposed US$3.5 billion Xayaboury dam, which if built promises to hurt downstream communities and the environment in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, Nam Theun 2′s emerging failures have largely escaped critical scrutiny.
In particular, there are rising indications that Nam Theun 2 and its 450 square kilometer reservoir are responsible for massive amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, amounting to as much as one million tons of methane and carbon dioxide per year, according to recent independent academic studies, including a statistical assessment produced by the US’s Duke University.
If accurate, that figure is substantially higher than the level of emissions initially estimated in the project’s environmental impact assessment. Researchers from Toulouse University in France have concluded that Nam Theun 2 produces in excess of 40% of the GHG that would be emitted from a coal fired power plant of equivalent energy output, and far more than a natural gas-fired plant. Continue reading
Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Hydroelectric dams, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water, World Bank
By Jonathan Watts, April 3 2013. Source: The Guardian
The São Luiz do Tapajós dam is the biggest of three planned facilities on the Tapajós river in the Amazon basin. Photo: Gerd Ludwig/Corbis
An Amazonian community has threatened to “go to war” with the Brazilian government after what they say is a military incursion into their land by dam builders.
The Munduruku indigenous group in Para state say they have been betrayed by the authorities, who are pushing ahead with plans to build a cascade of hydropower plants on the Tapajós river without their permission.
Public prosecutors, human rights groups, environmental organisations and Christian missionaries have condemned what they call the government’s strong-arm tactics.
According to witnesses in the area, helicopters, soldiers and armed police have been involved in Operation Tapajós, which aims to conduct an environmental impact assessment needed for the proposed construction of the 6,133MW São Luiz do Tapajós dam. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Green Economy, Hydroelectric dams, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water