Brazil\s plans to build the world’s 3rd largest dam in the Amazon has once again made the news. AFP reports that a Brazilian judge has overturned his previous decision and will now allow the project to proceedEarth’s Energy has posted previously on this controversial project here and here.

For years the project has been embroiled in politics and legal battles as the affected indigenous peoples of the region and environmentalists challenged the Brazilian government over its fate. The dam would flood an area of 500 square kilometers (200 square miles) along the Xingu river and displace 16,000 indigenous people. The Xingu is a tributary of the Amazon River.

In September, Judge Carlos Castro ruled in favor of a fisheries group that said the dam could affect local fishing stocks, which are key to the indigenous families who make a living by fishing. However, this week the Judge reversed his decision.

In making his latest ruling the judge was persuaded that the company behind the Belo Monte dam had shown that local fishing will not be impeded during construction, and the natural flow of the Xingu river will not be affected.

The $11 billion Belo Monte dam is seen by Brazil’s government as a key piece in its efforts to boost electricity production needed for one of the world’s fastest-growing emerging economies. If built, it would be the third biggest dam in the world, after China’s Three Gorges dam and the Itaipu dam on the border of Brazil and Paraguay.



On December 2oth A delegation of Brazilian celebrities and activists delivered a petition Tuesday to the country’s President Dilma Rousseff and called — yet again — for the immediate suspension of the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. Some 1.3 million people signed the petition calling for an end to the construction of Brazil’s massive dam in the northern Amazon region.



In the fall of 2013 a federal judge in Brazil suspended construction on the 11 gigawatt Belo Monte hydro-power dam in the heart of the Amazon rain forest on grounds that environmental commitments had not been met. When completed, the dam would be the world’s third largest hydro-power behind China’s Three Gorges dam and the Itaipu, which straddles the border of Brazil and Paraguay.

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1 Comment on Update on Belo Monte Dam in Brazil

  1. E. Dudley says:

    The World Bank estimates that forcible “development-induced displacement and resettlement” now affects 10 million people per year. According to the World Bank an estimated 33 million people have been displaced by development projects such as dams, urban development and irrigation canals in India alone.

    India is well ahead in this respect. A country with as many as over 3600 large dams within its belt can never be the exceptional case regarding displacement. The number of development induced displacement is higher than the conflict induced displacement in India. According to Bogumil Terminski an estimated more than 10 million people have been displaced by development each year.

    Athough the exact number of development-induced displaced people (DIDPs) is difficult to know, estimates are that in the last decade 90–100 million people have been displaced by urban, irrigation and power projects alone, with the number of people displaced by urban development becoming greater than those displaced by large infrastructure projects (such as dams). DIDPs outnumber refugees, with the added problem that their plight is often more concealed.

    This is what experts have termed “development-induced displacement.” According to Michael Cernea, a World Bank analyst, the causes of development-induced displacement include water supply (dams, reservoirs, irrigation); urban infrastructure; transportation (roads, highways, canals); energy (mining, power plants, oil exploration and extraction, pipelines); agricultural expansion; parks and forest reserves; and population redistribution schemes.