Brazil Amazon Dam Raises Concerns & Unites Unlikely Opponents
One cannot imagine two more unlikely allies – investors and environmentalists. Yet, that is exactly what is happening in the fierce opposition to the plans for a massive hydroelectric dam on Brazil’s Amazon River.
The proposed dam is likely to have a price tag of $17 billion and will eventually be able to generate 11,000 megawatts of power, which should make investors happy. However, investors are not happy because there is a limit to the amount of money they will be able to charge for electric services once the dam is up and running. This and some clear design issues have caused the two largest Brazilian construction companies to back out of the auction process originally scheduled for April 20. Today’s Brazilian court decision has postponed that date.
Supporters claim that the dam will generate jobs and energy to support Brazil’s growing economy. Critics, however, see it as a political move by Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, that is doomed to fail. As far as environmentalists are concerned, the project poses an immense threat to the already fragile Amazon ecosystem and will displace 20,000 people.
This looks to observers to be a lose-lose situation.