Cumulative impact of more than 100 joint ventures can cause irreversible damage to National Heritage

Search public prosecutor in court suspension of dams in the Pantanal

— last modified 8/20/2012 11:26

Cumulative impact of more than 100 joint ventures can cause irreversible damage to National Heritage

Ministério Público busca na Justiça suspensão de hidrelétricas no Pantanal
The world’s biggest floodable Plains can suffer irreversible damage

The Federal Public Ministry (MPF) and State (MPE) of Mato Grosso do Sul have joined with civil public action in the 1st Federal Stick Cushion/MS to suspend the installation of hydroelectric developments around the Pantanal until the completion of the study on the cumulative impact of activities. There are currently 126 projects installed or in the process of installation and inventory studies 23.

The action directs itself against the Federal Government, the States of Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso, the National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL), energy research company (EPE), Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (IBAMA) and the Institute of Environment of Mato Grosso do Sul (IMASUL).

Irreversible damage

Scientific research warn about the risks of installing hydroelectric developments in the basin of Alto Paraguay (BAP). According to the researchers, if the hydroelectric plants, even the small-small hydro (SHP)-, are installed in the BAP, the cycle of floods in the Pantanal is changed, causing negative effects on the entire biome, which depends on the natural pulse of floods to have life.

Without proper study of cumulative impact activities and effective measures to prevent the collapse of the system, permanent damage can be caused to the environment and to more than 4 thousand households that rely exclusively on the bowl to survive. Reflexes must still be experienced in tourism, agriculture and fishing, in addition to damage to archaeological sites in the region.

Cumulative Individual x

Currently, environmental permits are provided to each individually hydroelectric venture. However, for the prosecution, in a complex biome and sensitive as the Pantanal, not just add up the individual impacts, it is necessary to analyze them together, considering the entire basin of Alto Paraguay.

For the simultaneous impacts are considered, the Prosecutor asks that justice determine the realization of a strategic environmental assessment (sea) in all the BAP, including the States of Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso. The study should be based on a specialized bibliography and count with the participation of scientific sectors and of organised civil society.

The request for injunction, if accepted by Justice, should suspend all processes of environmental licensing of hydropower projects, in that stage, until the cumulative impact study is finalized and its conclusions applied.

To the MP, the judicial process was the only way to compel the environmental agencies to carry out strategic environmental assessment and prevent future damage. Three public hearings, several recommendations and crafts were forwarded by the ministerial organ institutions State and federal environment, but the measures remained insufficient to that concrete actions were performed.

Growing energy exploration

In recent years, despite repeated alerts about possible negative effects of energy exploitation in the plateau that surrounds the Pantanal, new environmental permits were granted. In 2008, 115 joint ventures were designed today are 126 – an increase of 8.5%.

Already in relation to installed power in BAP, between 2003 and 2011 there was an increase of 120% in hydroelectric exploitation of the basin. 499 MW capacity jumped from 1,200 MW in 2003 to last year. Of total enterprises, 75% small hydro (SHP)-power plants among 1 and 30 MW.

And the trend is that hydropower projects continue to be installed, especially small businesses. Institutional changes and regulations of the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) changed the concept of SHPS and have stimulated the proliferation of “less impact” ventures-up to 10 thousand kwW.

Tax and financial incentives have been provided to entrepreneurs and exempt them from payment of financial compensation for electricity produced. For the prosecution, fractionate harnessing hydroelectric potential leads to weakening of environmental protection and, therefore, emergency measures must be carried out.

“The level of exploitation of the water resources of the basin, combined with the accelerated dynamic expansion of hydro power plants of BAP, revealing even more the indispensability to seek clarity and certainty as to the parameters for the appropriate use of environmental resources in the Pantanal and the plateau that surrounds it”.

Preventing damage

In the lawsuit, the Public Ministry enforces the various hydroelectric developments represent unknown losses and without measure, “that alone would be reason enough to invoke the need for suspension of those activities”.

“Admit the continued expansion of the electricity sector in the basin in which is inserted into the Pantanal, without proper study of cumulative impacts of hydropower projects, is act contrary to law and the Constitution, able to hurt of death one of the most notable world biomes”, warning the MP.

In the lawsuit, the Prosecutor seeks to IBAMA, the IMASUL and the Secretaria de Estado do Meio Ambiente do Estado de Mato Grosso (SEMA/MT) are obliged to condition the future environmental licensing strategic environmental assessment, which must be held by Energy-research firm linked to the Ministry of mines and energy.

As the projects in operation, the MP wants the operation licenses, when renewed, expressly consider the new demands arising from the AAE.

National Heritage and of humanity

The Pantanal, located in the basin of Alto Paraguay, floodable Plains is the largest in the world. In Brazil, it is located between the States of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul and also covers part of Bolivia and Paraguay.

The most striking feature of the basin is the relationship between plateau and plain, which influences the landscape and biodiversity in one of the most important regions of the planet. The regular pulse of floods is the main phenomenon that governs your ecological operation. Is the seasonality of these floods that dictates the diversity of biota on this territory, allowing the constant renewal of the bodies present.

The Pantanal was declared National Patrimony by the Brazilian Constitution of 1988. At the international level, he is considered a world heritage site and biosphere reserve by the United Nations Organization for education, science and culture-UNESCO, since 2000.

Procedural reference in Federal Justice 0000521: Cushion 24.2012.4.03.6007

Media Advisory Federal prosecutors in Mato Grosso do Sul (67) 3312-7265/9297-1903 (67) 3312-7283/9142-3976

www.prms.mpf.gov.br

ascom@prms.mpf.gov.br

www.twitter.com/mpf_ms

http://www.prms.mpf.gov.br/servicos/sala-de-imprensa/noticias/2012/08/ministerio-publico-busca-na-justica-suspensao-de-hidreletricas-no-pantanal

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