Three Gorges Probe

China says research still needed before Nu River dammed

(March 8, 2011)  In an apparent contradiction of national policy, General Secretary of Yunnan’s provincial Communist Party claims that the Nu River will not be dammed without further research.  Is a schism emerging between the provincial and Central Party officials over the controversial dams?

Reuters, March 8, 2011, China says research still needed before Nu River dammed

Controversial plans to dam the Nu River in southwest China’s Yunnan province will remain on hold until research into the viability of the projects has been completed, Yunnan’s top official said on Tuesday.

“We need to deepen research into the projects and only then can construction begin,” Bai Enpei, the general secretary of the Yunnan Communist Party, said on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

“My attitude has not changed — we have to continue ecological and environmental research…into the impact on the upper and lower reaches (of the river) and if there is a single problem anywhere we need to clarify and resolve it before we can move into the construction phase,” Bai told Reuters.

Local media reports late last year suggested that a commitment to dam the Nu River would be part of the new five-year plan for the energy sector. Officials with the National Energy Administration said last month that progress could be made in the 2011-2015 period, but Bai said nothing had changed.

“I’ve seen the five-year plan and it calls for the deepening of research work into Nu River hydropower development, and once the research is clear we will say whether we will build (the dams) or not,” Bai said.

Read the full story here.

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