rn: Action re: Alcoa dams in Brazil & Fortis dam in Belize


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

Dan, in California, sends us info on how to try to prevent what sound like
disasterous plans for dams on the Amazon and I'm adding info on how to
oppose another bad dam idea (for Belize).

Many people may assume hydroelectric power is "clean"; I did at one point.
But it turns out this is not necessarily so.

From Halifax' Ecolgy Action Centre's news magazine (fall, 2000):

"Green Technology It Ain't"

Despite what engineers are saying in Kyoto Protocol meetings, dams are not
"clean" technologies. Far from it, says the World Commission on Dams, a
group of scientists, engineers and environmentalists supported but (but
independent of) the World Bank, the world's largest funder of large dams.

The Commission, which was set up by the World Bank and IUCN in 1998 to
review the performance and "development effectiveness of large dams and
hydropower projects, and to set guidelines for the future, will submit its
final report in November.

Dams, it appears, release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere per unit
of energy produced than do large coal-fired generating stations. The
culprits? Stagnant waters and rotting vegetation, with resultant copious
emissions of methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas then CO2....

Shallow, tropical reservoirs that are not cleared of biomass before flooding
appear most at risk. Brazil's Balbina Dam, which has a generating capacity
of 112 megawatts, is estimated to produce 3 million tonnes of carbon/year
over its first 20 years, compared to 0.35 tonnes/year from a coal-fired
power station of the same capacity.

_New Scientist_ 27 May, '00
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 20:01:14 -0800
From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Tell Alcoa to Scrap Plans for Amazon Dams!

>Holding Corporations Accountable
>December 18, 2001
>Tell Alcoa to Scrap Plans for Amazon Dams!
>Source: International Rivers Network
>Alcoa, the world's largest aluminum company, has announced plans to
>construct at least three large dams in  the Brazilian Amazon. The dams
>will flood indigenous lands as well as protected ecological reserves and
>other critical wetlands in the rainforest. Tens of thousands of families
>will lose their homes and livelihood, including family farmers,
>fisherfolk, palm nut gatherers, and ceramic makers.
>Yet, no studies of the cumulative impacts of these and 13 other proposed
>  large dams have been carried out. Indications are that these dams will
>destroy thousands of square kilometers of natural ecosystems along the
>river systems, and further spread poverty throughout the eastern Amazon.
>Tell Alcoa to scrap plans for Amazon dams! Send a FREE FAX to Alcoa CEO
>Alain Belda, http://www.corpwatch.org/action/PAA.jsp?articleid=1017
>or first read more about the issue on the International Rivers Network
Fortis Inc. plans to dam Chalillo River despite serious environmental &
social concerns

A Newfoundland-based company which also owns property in the Maritimes is
hoping to build a big dam in Belize. As Alan Rabinowitz, Director of Science
and Exploration of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, wrote to
the National Environmental Appraisal committee of Belize, "I implore you to
consider carefully the loss and destruction of a crucial core of riparian
habitat that would accompany the Chalillo Dam project...This is an issue of
considering long-term alternatives so that environment and the people of
Belize benefit, not simply a few privileged individuals."

I urge others to write as well. You can use the info below to help (note the
address to write to).

For more information about the role of Newfoundland-based
Fortis corporation and the Canadian International Development
Agency in supporting this project, please see our Fortis-Belize
page <http://www.probeinternational.org> or contact
Grainne Ryder, Policy Director, Probe International.
E-mail: •••@••.•••
Tel: 416-964-9223 ext. 227

Also: <http://www.stopfortis.org>www.stopfortis.org or 
call toll free 1-866 STOP FORTIS (1-866-786-7367).

from: Jan Slakov, president, Enviro-Clare, Box 35, Weymouth, NS B0W 3T0
National Environmental Appraisal Committee
%Dept. of the Environment, Government Offices
Belmopan, Belize, Central America

Dear Sirs, Mesdames,

Please protect the Macal and Raspaculo Rivers, as well as the Mesoamerican
Biological Corridor. Your government's reputation and Belize's
attractiveness for tourists are also at stake.

An article in the Sept. 20 _Globe and Mail_ points out that the
environmental assessment (which Canadian taxpayers paid $250,000 for) was
not fair and open. Fortis CEO H. Stanley Marshall has not replied to letters
sent to him (not that I know of) and the Fortis Annual Report seems to be
attempting to hide the truth, for no mention is made of the new dam plans.

Please make a choice which will protect the environment and the interests of
the majority of your citizens. Allowing the Chalillo Dam project to go ahead
would allow a few wealthy individuals to increase their wealth at the
expense of the environment and the well-being of many citizens in Belize.

Sincerely, Jan Slakov

H. Stanley Marshall, FORTIS Inc.
P.O. Box 8837
FORTIS Building, Suite1201
139 Water Street
St John's, NF
Canada A1B 3T2