*Please Note: NRDC's weekly Latin America news round-up will not be posted for the next two weeks, as our staff will be traveling. We will return on the week of Sept. 17-21. Thanks for reading!
The Supreme Court made a landmark decision rejecting the controversial 2100 MW Castilla coal-fired power plant, proposed by Brazilian businessman Eike Batista and the German company E.ON. The Court ruled that the company cannot submit separate environmental impact assessments (EIA) for the generation plant and the port it would build to import coal –as it has done—but rather must submit one EIA for both components together. (Diario Financiero 8/29/2012) Responses to the decision were varied, and some saw an opportunity to challenge the HidroAysén mega-dam proposal on the same argument, as its five dams are being evaluated separately from its transmission line. (Terram.cl 8/29/2012, Radio Universidad de Chile 8/29/2012)
President Piñera and his advisors presented the much-anticipated plan for the “Public Electricity Highway” on Thursday. The proposal is intended to create a stable national transmission network, and must be approved by Congress. Representatives from the electric sector had mixed reactions, some saying it would not achieve its stated goal of helping new renewable energy projects connect to the grid. (Diario Financiero 8/30/2012, Santiago Times 8/30/2012) Technical experts and civil society groups also criticized the plan, saying that Chile’s transmission system needs improvements, but that this proposal would not achieve that goal. (FuturoRenovable.cl 8/31/2012)
Personnel from Costa Rica’s park system will receive training from U.S. park specialists under a new agreement signed between the U.S. National Park Service and Costa Rica’s National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC). The agreement will facilitate collaboration on planning, development, administration and operation of national parks in both countries. In particular, this initiative will help improve trails in 15 Costa Rican parks through increased use of technology. (La Nación 8/27/2012)
La Rivera Desarrollos, the company behind the recently proposed Los Pericúes coastal tourism project, announced it was removing the project’s environmental impact statement from consideration. The company, while insisting its project is environmentally sustainable, explained its decision was made in an effort to reach out to the local community and civil society and engage them in dialogue about the project. (Peninsular Digital 9/2/2012) The announcement occurred amidst growing concern from civil society groups that the Los Pericúes proposal was strikingly similar to the Cabo Cortés project – a controversial plan to build a mega resort that endangered the Cabo Pulmo National Park. (Peninsular Digital 8/30/2012)
The Inter-American Bank of Development (BID) has approved a loan of $76 million to finance a renewable energy wind park, constructed by a subsidiary of Enel Green Power SpA. This is the fourth park of its kind financed by BID in Oaxaca since 2009. It includes 37 turbines which can produce up to 287 gigawats/hour annually and reduce up to 172,265 metric tons of carbon emissions per year. The team manager of the Department of Corporate and Structured Financing of BID, Brian Blakley states: “This project will contribute to the achievement of the Mexican objective to reduce 50 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.” (Ecoticias 8/30/2012)
The Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) has rejected a wind farm project proposed by the Mexico Power Group. The proposal, submitted a year ago, included building 115 wind turbines within 10 years over an area the size of thousands of football fields in Cozumel, and specified 32 negative environmental effects along with preventative measures. The proposal was rejected on the grounds of its harmful environmental impacts in that particular area as well as inaccuracies and inconsistencies about how much area was needed for the project. While SEMARNAT does recognize the advantages of wind power, they stated that Cozumel was not the place for this wind farm. The Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA) applauded SEMARNAT’s ruling. Mexico Power Group will be re-proposing another, greatly reduced project, in the far south of the island for only 26 turbines. (ThisIsCozumel.com 8/28/2012)
Note: The linked articles and excerpts in this post are provided for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the Natural Resources Defense Council.