Brazil OKs $4 billion dam in the Amazon rainforest
November 13, 2008
Brazil has given final go-ahead on a controversial dam on the Madeira river in the Amazon rainforest provided environmental conditions are met, reports the Associated Press.
The $4 billion Jirau dam is expected to have a capacity of 3,300 megawatts of power when completed in 2013. It is one of two proposed dams for the Maderia in Rondonia state. The dams are expected to have the capacity to produce 6,450 megawatts of electricity, about 8 percent of Brazil’s demand, but have proven controversial.
Scientists say the dams, which will flood 204 square miles, will release greenhouse gases from rotting vegetation and block important route for migratory fish, including some of the river’s largest catfish species. Environmentalists have warned that the project could bring soybean farmers, illegal gold miners and loggers to remote parts of the Amazon rainforest, increasing pressure on the biodiverse ecosystem.
Environment Minister Carlos Minc will unveil further details on Jirau today.