Help Protect the Future of Patagonia

Monday, June 3, 2013
By James Q Martin

HidroAysén – a consortium of Chilean and European companies – is proposing to build a series of five dams on two of Chile’s most pristine and powerful rivers, the Baker and the Pascua.

The campaign to protect Patagonia has become the largest environmental struggle in the country's history. The majority of Chileans have declared that they are against the project. And since the project's Environmental Impact Assesment was first submitted and subsequently approved in May 2011, Chileans have taken to the streets in the thousands to show their opposition. As the presidential elections approach in Chile, a new campaign – Vota Sin Represas (Vote Without Dams) – launched by the Patagonia Defense Council is ensuring that HidroAysén is an issue which candidates must address and declare their position on in the lead-up to the elections. In this way Chileans will have the knowledge and the power to turn their opposition to the project and their belief in an alternative energy future for Chile into votes.

Over the past year Colbún – HidroAysén’s Chilean partner – and Enel – Italy’s biggest electric utility, owner of Endesa Chile, and HidroAysén’s European partner – have both publicly stated that they will only move forward with the project if there is political and public agreement within Chile.

On Sunday, Chile’s former president, and leading presidential candidate, Michelle Bachelet demonstrated her lack of political agreement when she stated that she opposes the HidroAysén plan. During a televised debate with other candidates who are competing to represent the center-left coalition, Bachalet declared "[HidroAysén] is not viable, it should not go on." In making such a statement Bachelet is aligning herself with the majority of Chileans who do not want HidroAysén.

Stand in solidarity with the majority of Chileans who have said "no" to HidroAysén and demonstrated that there is not the political will to move forward – Urge Colbún and Enel to drop the destructive dam project!

The wild and unique wilderness of Patagonia remains under threat until Colbún and Enel abandon the destructive mega-dam scheme. Chile is blessed with some of the world’s best renewable resources and has far better options than HidroAysén for a truly sustainable energy future.