In a major victory for Brazilian environmentalists, Judge Carlos Castro Martins has suspended work on the $11 billion Belo Monte dam, stating that it could interfere with the flow of the Xingu River, located in Para State.
Martins rendered his decision in the wake of testimony from a fisheries group which argued that the Belo Monte dam would affect local fish stocks and could harm indigenous families who make a living from fishing, MercoPress news agency reported.
The Brazilian government has argued that the Belo Monte dam is a critical component in meeting Brazil’s growing energy needs.
Judge Martins ruled that the Norte Energia company behind the Belo Monte dam was to be barred from “building a port, using explosives, installing dikes, building canals and any other infrastructure work that would interfere with the natural flow of the Xingu river, thereby affecting local fish stocks,” noting that the building of canals and dikes could have negative repercussions for river communities living off small-scale fishing.
The Belo Monte dam, when completed, would be world’s third-largest hydroelectric energy producer. Another judge in February suspended work on the Belo Monte dam, but his ruling was subsequently overturned.
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com