Indigenous Peoples

Brazil. The second largest dam in the country won’t go ahead

The environmental license for one of the most extensive dams in Brazil has been denied. A valuable and sensitive area of the Amazon has been spared.

The construction of the São Luiz do Tapajós hydroelectric dam has been denied. The Brazilian Government will have to propose a completely different project. This, according to the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), which decided not to give an environmental license for the construction of the mega-dam in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon.

Indigenous people protest against the construction of the dam. Photo via Greenpeace

The project didn’t comply with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements due to its serious impact on the whole area. As a result, IBAMA’s President Suely Araujo announced the cancellation of licensing for the dam.

Brazil’s second largest dam after Belo Monte

The aim of the project was to build a dam in the Tapajós river basin, one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon River. The dam would have been built in the Sawré Maybu indigenous lands, where the Munduruku Indians live, flooding 729 square kilometres of lands, probably one of the most sensitive areas of the Amazon. If it had gone ahead the hydroelectric dam would have generated 8,000 megawatt of power, at a cost of 32 billion dollars, becoming one of the country’s most extensive dams.

Munduruku people have been living in this area for centuries. Photo via Greenpeace

Indigenous people and the Amazon have won

“We, Munduruku people, are very happy with the news. This is very important for us. Now, we will continue to fight against other dams in our river”, Arnaldo Kabá Munduruku, Munduruku General Chief, told Greenpeace.

The association has carefully recorded the events, saying that: “In the last few months, more than 1.2 million people around the world joined the Munduruku call to stop the São Luiz do Tapajós project and demanded multinational companies like Siemens and GE distance themselves from it”, following the example of ENEL that told Greenpeace it doesn’t want to support this dangerous project.

Cacique Juarez Saw Munduruku in the Sawré Muybu village. Photo via Greenpeace

There are at least another 40 hydroelectric projects planned in the river basin. Which explains the hunger for energy in a country that is growing at a rocketing rate but that doesn’t always care about preserving the most important and valuable thing it has: the forest and its rivers.

This is a great victory for the Munduruku Indigenous people who live in the Tapajós region and whose traditions and rights were deeply threatened by the dam”, said Danicley Aguiar, Greenpeace Brazil campaigner. “It is a great victory also for everyone who cares about the Amazon forest and supports the Munduruku globally”. Foresta amazzonica e dei suoi abitanti, umani e non, e che hanno voluto sostenere i Munduruku in questa battaglia”.

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