Brazil Workers Resume Work on Amazon Dam After Protest Ends
More than 2,500 workers building the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, the world’s third-largest, in Brazil’s Amazon are returning to work at a site closed by protests last week.
The workers will arrive at the construction site this afternoon, a member of the press department for the consortium building the dam said by telephone.
Indigenous tribes, peasant farmers and fisherman on Oct. 8 seized control of one of three construction sites, alleging that its developer, Norte Energia SA, hasn’t followed through on a pledge to invest in communities affected by the project. Norte Energia met with the protesters and agreed to build health clinics and schools for indigenous groups, the company said in an e-mailed statement today.
The meeting was a step forward, because for the first time state government lawyers were present, said Maira Irigaray, Brazil program director for Amazon Watch, a San Francisco-based environmental watchdog.
“The agreement they made was legally binding, which means if Norte Energia doesn’t comply this time there will be fees and we can go after them,” Irigaray said by telephone from Altamira.
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