Court Halts Chilean Dam Project

Is it enough to save Patagonia?

Jun 21, 2011
Outside Magazine

An appeals court in Chile has suspended plans to move ahead with the HidroAysen project, the widely criticized $3.2 billion plan to build five large dams in Patagonia. Last month, regulators approved the project, leading to weeks of demonstration in Santiago, the Chilean capital. Lawerys for opposition environmental groups have argued that last month's ruling was incomplete, and on Monday the court agreed. A representative for the project has called the ruling a formality, but opponents believe it is a sign that political pressure in favor of construction is waning. The dams would generate an estimated 2,750 megawatts of energy, considered critical to the Chile economy as the country faces a looming energy crisis. But as Patrick Symmes detailed for Outside last year, it would also disfigure a vast section of Patagonia, one of the last untouched regions in South America.

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