Belo Monte Dam Does Not Meet Equator Principles, Say Rights Groups

Monday, November 7, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Brasilia, Brazil – The controversial Belo Monte Dam, slated for construction in Brazil's Amazon region, does not meet the standards of an international framework used by the world's largest private banks to evaluate sustainability, say human rights groups in Brazil. In a letter sent to Itaú, Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Santander, and Caixa Econômica Federal, 150 Brazilian social and environmental organizations warned that Belo Monte developer Norte Energia, S.A. (NESA) has not complied with the Equator Principles, a set of voluntary standards created in 2003 that aid

Belo Monte Dam Marks a Troubling New Era in Brazil's Attitude to its Rainforest

Monday, August 15, 2011
Originally published in The Ecologist Belo Monte is just one of a dozen giant dam projects Brazil plans to build in the Amazon region in the coming decades and opens up the world's largest tropical rainforest to oil and mining exploration The Kayapó chief stands, and a hush comes over the circle. All the other caciques wait expectantly for Raoni Metuktire to speak. 

Instead, he starts to dance, whooping and shouting, a dance for the enemy. Afterwards, he speaks. 'I will go there, to Belo Monte, and warn my family,' he says, the disc in his lower lip punctuating his words. &#

Mining Giant Joins Belo Monte Dam

Vale's Amazon blemish. An aerial view of the Carajás mines.
Vale's Amazon blemish. An aerial view of the Carajás mines. The world's second-largest mining corporation, Vale, has stepped into one of the world's most controversial dams: Belo Monte. With its new share in the dam, Vale – and the Brazilian government – are banking on the hope that the electricity from so-called "clean" dams can power Brazil's continued export of commodities to China. In the case of the Amazon, Belo Monte may help power a record expansion of dirty mining. In so many ways, a nightmare "Avatar" scenario is ever closer to reality. Hydropower – far from t

Regional Judge Overturns Ban on Construction of Controversial Belo Monte Dam

Saturday, March 5, 2011
Decision allows for forest clearance and start-up of dam construction to begin, despite violations of human rights and environmental legislation Brasília, Brazil – In yet another turn of events in the increasingly heated legal and political battle over the controversial Belo Monte dam complex, on Thursday the president of a federal regional court in Brasilia, Olindo Menezes, overturned a decision by federal judge Ronaldo Destêrro that prohibited initial construction to commence on the mega-project – slated to be the world's third largest dam - along the Xingu river in the heart of th

On Carnaval, Belo Monte Installation Begins

Norte Energia Begins Initial Installation of Belo Monte without Full License
Norte Energia Begins Initial Installation of Belo Monte without Full License On February 25th, a judge suspended the partial installation license for Belo Monte Dam.   On Thursday March 3rd, a regional judge overturned the suspension in a politically questionable ruling.  And today, Norte Energia is celebrating Carnaval on the Xingu by beginning project installation, ignoring social and environmental prerequisites.  According to the government, it's a matter of national security; and according to a letter from Brazilian bank BNDES, loan conditions have been violated.  Happy Carnaval.

Belo Monte and Brazil’s ‘Pandora’

Monday, February 14, 2011
Can a massive dam project in the Amazon be stopped?It’s the biggest forest battle on Earth. The plot: a big government, in this case Brazil—armed to the teeth with unlimited executive and financial powers—takes on a rag tag group of river-dwelling tribes and around 20,000 poor people who happen to be in the way of what might become the world’s largest hydroelectric dam project. The dam, known as Belo Monte, is to be built along the Xingu River in Brazil’s Wild West state of Pará, a large and relatively desolate state. Most homes have no running water or sewer system. Para happens t

Developer Backing Out of Loan for Construction of Risky Belo Monte Dam

Thursday, February 3, 2011
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil—After learning that the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) will not release funds from the $640 million bridge loan issued in late December unless Brazilian legislation is honored, the dam consortium Norte Energia, S.A. (NESA) is threatening to drop the loan and is now seeking private funders to finance initial construction on the Belo Monte Dam Complex in the Brazilian Amazon. This follows last week’s issuance of a “partial” installation license—non-existent within Brazilian environmental legislation—by Brazil’s environmental agency IBAMA, allowin

The Tug of War Over Brazil's Belo Monte Dam

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
For people opposing the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in Brazil, the blockbuster film Avatar struck a chord. In the movie, a corporate-driven government from Earth threatens a lush, alien planet to extract precious metals. In real life, a government -- in this case, that of Brazil -- threatens to uproot thousands of people, mainly subsistence farmers and some Amazon tribes. It's not as dramatic, and surely not as violent, as the Hollywood blockbuster. But opposition to Belo Monte has been sufficient enough to stall the project for years. Belo Monte has been o

Risky Business in the Amazon

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
New report reveals looming financial, legal and reputational disaster of Belo Monte, world's third largest dam projectBrasília and São Paulo, Brazil – The Belo Monte Dam Complex, slated to begin construction in April along the Xingu River in heart of the Brazilian Amazon, not only threatens ecological integrity and the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and other local communities but also presents tremendous risks for financiers, investors and the country's taxpayers, according to a new report issued by International Rivers and Friends of the Earth – Brazilian Amazonia.  The rep

IBAMA President Resigns Over Belo Monte Licensing

Ex-President of IBAMA, Abelardo Bayma Azevedo, at a briefing
Ex-President of IBAMA, Abelardo Bayma Azevedo, at a briefing The President of Brazil's environmental agency IBAMA, Abelardo Bayma Azevedo, submitted a letter of resignation yesterday after facing heavy pressure to grant a full installation license for the Belo Monte Complex, another victim in a long-running political war over environmental licensing between Brazil's Ministry of Mines and Energy and its Ministry of the Environment. The victims keep piling up, and it's bad for the Amazon. Brazil’s Big Bad Wolf Attacks Again Azevedo is the latest victim of a feud between the min


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