Belo Monte Dam Suspended By High Brazilian Court

Belo Monte Dam Suspended By High Brazilian Court

This is what needs to be done globally to protect our water and forests.This is part of the onslaught by corporations and governments to own the resources that give us life (seeds, water, land) in order to control us. The indigenous people stand firm to protect our forests and our water. We need to stand with them.


Federal Judge Souza Prudente of the Federal Tribunal of Brazil's Amazon region suspended all work today on the Belo Monte Dam, invalidating the project's environmental and installation licenses.

While the project has been suspended previously on numerous occasions, and those suspensions overturned on political grounds, this latest decision could have some legs. The decision breaks down in the following way:

The federal judge ruled that no consultations were held with indigenous people prior to Congress issuing Decree 788 in 2005, which effectively approved the Belo Monte Dam. Article 231 of the Brazilian Constitution requires consultations to be held directly by the Congress prior to approval. In this case, approval was given three years before publication of the environmental impact assessment, and no consultations with indigenous peoples were ever carried out by the Brazilian Congress.

As a result, the project's environmental license (granted in 2010) and installation license (granted in 2011) are now considered invalid, meaning that no further work can continue on the dam.

Brazil's National Congress must hold a series of public hearings, or consultations, with the indigenous tribes that will be affected by Belo Monte. Only after such consultations occur and are considered satisfactory, must the Congress legislate a new approval for the dam.

The government and project consortium Norte Energia, S.A. can appeal to Brazil's Supreme Court, Brazil's Superior Court of Justice, the President of the Federal Tribunal, and Brazil's Attorney General, in the next 30 days. Since this is a constitutional matter, the appeal is likely to go to the Supreme Court. In a press conference given today late in Brasil, Souza Prudente stated that "only in a dictatorial regime does a government approve a project before holding consultations."

The decision supports the arguments that the affected tribes have been making over the lifetime of Belo Monte: tribes will face downstream livelihood impacts as a result of a reduction in the flow of the Xingu River on the 100-km stretch known as the Volta Grande or "Big Bend," and were never properly consulted, much less gave their consent.

In the words of the decision itself,

"installation will cause direct interference in the minimal ecological existence of the indigenous communities, with negative and irreversible impacts on their health, quality of life, and cultural patrimony, on the lands that they have traditionally occupied for time immemorial. This requires the authorization of the National Congress after holding prior consultations with these communities, as deemed by law, under the penalty of suspension of the authorization, which has been granted illegally."

Beyond the fact that the Belo Monte Dam is now considered illegal by one of Brazil's higher courts, the fact is that Brazil doesn't need Belo Monte. Economic rationale for the dam is based on a projected economic growth of 5% or more a year, but over the past few quarters, GDP has been lucky to grow at even a measily rate. As far as Belo Monte's importance to Brazil's economic race, this is really a case of the horse following the wagon.

And, as illustrated by this historic court decision, the wagon has been trampling on indigenous people and their rights, along the way.

More at the link


This is a true victory for the indigenous people who fought against this dam for years and social media which helped get this out into the public! I am so happy for them! Of course, this will no doubt be fought and dirty tactics will be undertaken to either discredit this judge or find a loophole, but the overwhelming message is clear.

Hydroelectric Dams Pose Threat To Tribal Peoples

The sun shines and the winds blow here everyday. Hydropower is not a "green" source and not logical in these times of more severe and frequent droughts. Displacing millions of people globally and diverting rivers that have provided for theirs and other species sustenance for centuries is the height of immorality especially when other cleaner, cost efficient and less invasive renewable energy alternatives exist.

And Brazil has about 59 more hydroelectric projects planned. It is clearly about profit for the companies involved. This project would divert 80% of the river from its original course, thus leaving swaths of indigenous land in drought while flooding over 100,000 acres of rainforest and displacing 20- 40,000 people. Once again we see shortsightedness at a time when we need to see the big picture. Hydroelectricity in areas such as this in an age of global warming and drought is a short term solution that will only bring long term consequences to environment, economy, culture and also the climate balance of the planet.

Solar energy is the one renewable energy source that is most viable here that will also preserve the environment, water resources and culture of the indigenous peoples who call this area their home. This action will then in turn spawn multiple dam projects all the way up the Amazon that will only displace more people when it is not necessary.


My entry on this from two years ago:

Belo Monte Dam Destroying The Amazon