28 Jan 2011:
Brazil OKs Forest Clearing
for $17 Billion Belo Monte Dam Project
The Brazilian government has approved a controversial $17 billion dam project at Belo Monte in the Amazonian rainforest
, a massive project that would become the third-largest hydroelectric facility in the
world but displace thousands of people. Government officials say the 11,000-megawatt plant, which would be capable of powering 23 million homes, is a critical step toward providing energy for the nation’s growing population. But indigenous communities and conservationists have protested the proposed dam for decades
, citing major environmental and social consequences. The 3.75-mile-long dam (six kilometers) would displace 30,000 people who live near the area’s rivers, partially dry up a 62-mile stretch of the Xingu River, and flood a 193-square-mile area (500-square-kilometers). The first stage of the project would include the clearing of 588 acres of forest, an area roughly the size of Monaco. The project is expected to begin producing electricity by 2015.
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