Canadian Consulting Engineer

DAMS: AMEC under fire for Belize dam study

The Canadian arm of AMEC (formerly AGRA) has been under fire from environmental and human rights groups for its environmental impact study on the proposed Chalillo Dam in Belize. CBC ran a television ...

June 1, 2002  Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Canadian arm of AMEC (formerly AGRA) has been under fire from environmental and human rights groups for its environmental impact study on the proposed Chalillo Dam in Belize. CBC ran a television program on the controversy on its current affairs program Disclosure in April.

Opponents, including the author of a British Natural History Museum report, say the barrier should not be built because it will flood a 35-kilometre stretch of the Macal River valley that is habitat for rare wildlife, and it will destroy Mayan archaeological sites. They also say that the power produced will be too expensive for the local people. Newfoundland power company Fortis is proposing to build the $30 million, 49.5 metre dam.

AMEC says its purpose was to generate information for the Belize government to make its own decision. On its website, the company also says their report points out both the positive and negative impacts, acknowledging that the barrier would affect the plant and animal species downriver. Contrary to earlier reports, AMEC also says it has no intentions of pursuing a contract to design the dam if it is approved.

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