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BRAZILIAN JUDGE SUSPENDS DAM OPERATING LICENSE UNTIL COMMITMENTS TO INDIGENOUS GROUPS ARE MET

01/25/2016

Construction of the third largest dam in the world, Brazil's Belo Monte dam, is complete but a judge suspended its operating license. Judge Maria Carolina Valente de Carmo ruled that the dam must fulfill obligations that it made in 2010 to the region’s indigenous groups before the dam can begin generating electricity. The dam is located on the Xingu River in the Amazon and was just weeks away from beginning operation. Judge Valente decided that the dam’s owner and the Brazilian government must fulfill a 2014 court-ordered licensing requirement to the office of Funai, the Brazilian agency that protects indigenous groups. The ruling fined the government and operating company $225,000 for not complying with the Funai requirement, part of the original agreement when Belo Monte was given its preliminary license in 2010. This is not the first time that the dam has had legal trouble: in December 2015, Brazil’s Public Federal Ministry found that ethnocide was committed against indigenous groups during the dam’s construction. Since the beginning of the project, indigenous groups have opposed the dam, explaining that its construction will impair their water supply and impact hunting and fishing. For the full story, see http://news.mongabay.com/2016/01/brazilian-court-suspends-operating-license-for-belo-monte-dam/