CORRECTED-Amazon dam opposed by tribes fails to get environmental license

jueves 4 de agosto de 2016 19:09 GYT

(Corrects to Ibama in 2nd paragraph)

BRASILIA Aug 4 (Reuters) - Brazil's environmental regulator Ibama decided on Thursday to shelve the environmental license request for a hydroelectric dam on the Tapajos River in the Amazon, a project that had been opposed by indigenous tribes and conservation groups.

Ibama's licensing office ruled the dam's backers had not presented information in time to show its social and environmental viability. They halted the 30 billion reais ($9.40 billion) project. In April, Ibama had suspended the licensing process that began in 2009 after criticism by Brazil's indigenous affairs department, Funai.

With installed capacity of about 6.1 gigawatts, the dam proposed by state-run Eletrobras, Brazil's largest power utility holding, and a group of other electricity companies, would have been one of Brazil's biggest.

But it would have flooded 376 square kilometers (145 sq miles) of Amazon rainforest that is home to some 12,000 Munduruku Indians, according to Greenpeace.

Scientists commissioned by Greenpeace said last year that the environmental impact assessment was a "marketing tool" that totally disregarded the indigenous people living along the banks of the Tapajos river.

Ibama said the companies behind the dam project had failed to supply information on the impact it would have on aquifers, on deforestation, the destruction of plant and animal life and the loss of farm land for indigenous communities.

A license for the Tapajos dam can be requested again, but that is considered unlikely due to the cost of redoing impact studies from scratch and the current recession Brazil is in.

Brazil gets around three quarters of its power from hydro-electric dams, though environmental concerns and opposition from Amazon tribes have often delayed the completion of dams.   Continuación...