Chalillo Dam

Environmentalists urge Newfoundland-based Fortis Corporation to abandon hydro scheme in Belize

Probe International – Press Advisory

January 25, 2001

Press Advisory – Canadian and U.S. environmental groups sign letter urging the Newfoundland-based Fortis Corporation to abandon its plans to invest in a hydro dam on Belize’s Macal river  

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Tapir

Toronto – Canadian U.S. environmental groups are urging Newfoundland-based Fortis Corporation abandon its plans invest hydro dam on Belize’s Macal river which would flood one Central America’s best wilderness areas.

“As majority owner Belize Electricity Limited, Fortis Inc. would best serve interests its shareholders, Belize ratepayers citizens, environment, abandoning Chalillo project,” groups stated letter sent today Fortis President Stanley Marshall St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Citing international wildlife experts, groups say dam will destroy critical stretch Macal river valley home endangered species such jaguar, Baird’s tapir, Scarlet Macaw – fewer than 200 which remain Belize. The groups point recent study World Commission on Dams which found “efforts ‘rescue’ wildlife [affected dams] have met with little sustainable success.”

Belize has “cheaper, cleaner generating options don’t threaten country’s wildlife riverine ecosystems,” groups argue.

A study Canadian consultants Agra-CI Power found electricity imports Mexico would cheaper than Chalillo. And Belize electricity utility’s own data indicates bagasse-fueled cogeneration plants are commercially viable generating option Belize’s sugar citrus growers, letter says.

A copy letter has been sent federal government ministers responsible Canadian International Development Agency because agency paying Toronto-based engineering firm, Agra Inc., justify dam’s construction.

Environmentalists have sent more than 20,000 letters, emails, postcards, faxes Fortis Inc. last year but Fortis Inc. has yet respond any them.

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CONTACT: Gráinne Ryder, Policy Director,
Probe International
416 964 9223 Ext.228
Email GrainneRyder@nextcity.com

Probe International Toronto-based citizens’ groups investigating economic environmental effects Canadian aid companies developing countries.

Categories: Chalillo Dam

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