George and Candy Gonzalez
March 5, 2010
On Friday, February 26, BECOL fulfilled one of the requirements in the Environmental Compliance Plan for Chalillo, and an order of Belize’s Supreme Court, to hold a “Public Session.”
The meeting’s purpose was to inform the public about the impacts and catastrophic risks posed by the Company’s Chalillo Dam, as well as the precautions BECOL is taking—or is supposed to be taking—to lessen damage and danger where possible.
Whether by design or chance, BECOL picked a time and date that was least likely to attract a crowd. Not only was the public meeting held on the last Friday of the month—the day that people get paid—but it was also the night of a concert at the next door Broaster Stadium. At times, the music was so loud that it was impossible to hear the speakers from the public and BECOL.
What we did hear from BECOL did not ring true. For instance, BECOL’s David Reynolds said that a dam break would cause flooding no worse than those experienced in the past—unless there is a major flood event. But don’t worry, he said, that is supposed to happen only once every 1,000 years.
He said the same thing at a meeting we attended at Chaa Creek a few months ago. When questioned about how this 1,000-year flood theory evolved, he said there are records.
At that point he was asked if we were supposed to accept everything he said. He replied, “Yes.”
Does he think we should also have believed the claim of BECOL’s Stephen Usher that it would take 500 years for the dam to fill with sediment, and that sediment is not a problem in the reservoir because the intake for the turbine is 7 meters above the reservoir bottom?
Does he think that we have forgotten what happened last summer when, after only 4 years of operation, the reservoir became so filled with sediment that it was passed, released into the river, causing environmental havoc downstream, all to ensure that the turbines would keep running?
When it comes to the Chalillo Dam, it appears that we are supposed to accept all the outrageous and misleading things we are told and not question the logic or the contradictions of what they say.
Categories: Chalillo Dam