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Brazil's Environment Chief resigns over controversial dam...

Abelardo Bayma Azevedo, the head of IBAMA, reportedly refused to grant the license due to environmental concerns. Source: mongabay.com

15th January 2011

Brazil's environment chief resigns over controversial Amazon dam
mongabay.com
January 14, 2011


The president of Brazil's environmental agency IBAMA has resigned over pressure to grant a license for the Belo Monte dam, a hydroelectric project on the Xingu River that faces strong opposition from environmental groups and indigenous tribes, reports O Globo.


Abelardo Bayma Azevedo, the head of IBAMA, reportedly refused to grant the license due to environmental concerns. Azevedo was said to be under pressure from the country's Ministry of Mines and Energy to approve the license.

Azevedo's resignation is strikingly similar to Marina Silva's resignation as Minister of Environment in 2008. She too was pressured by development interests intent on expanding dams and mining in the Amazon.

Belo Monte is among the most controversial of some 146 major dams planned in the Amazon basin over the next two to three decades. The dam, which will be the world's third largest, will flood 500 square miles of rainforest and displace at least 12,000 people in the region. Scientists say the dam will block a critical corridor for migratory fish and trigger greenhouse gas emissions from rotting vegetation. $17 billion project is fiercely opposed by indigenous groups, which say it will destroy livelihoods and ruin their way of life.

Amazon Watch, an environmental group protesting the dam, released a Google Earth animation on the dam last year. 

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