Skip to content

NEWS: Chile’s Supreme Court to decide on HidroAysen project by February

The Council of Canadians is opposed to the plan to build five hydroelectric dams in Patagonia in southern Chile and to construct high voltage powerlines through pristine wilderness areas to bring that power to the central regions of Chile.

In late-December, ILC reported, “A number of environmental groups, led by Patagonia Sin Represas (Patagonia Without Dams) have brought their case before the Supreme Court… The arguments in the Supreme Court will focus on a number of topics, including breaches of the Washington Convention (1940), to which Chile is a signatory. This treaty focuses on protecting national parks and nature reserves. The environmental groups will also argue that the public was not adequately consulted and that the environmental impact of the whole project, including the powerlines should have been considered. …The environmental groups will present their arguments on Monday Dec. 26.” The fuller argument that was made to the Supreme Court of Chile is outlined at http://www.santiagotimes.cl/chile/environment/23101-hidroaysen-opponents-appeal-to-chiles-supreme-court.

The Santiago Times reported that, “The Supreme Court is expected to take one to three months to reach a decision on the appeal.” Prensa Latina reports, “Although the Supreme Constitutional Court has no deadline to issue a verdict, it is expected to rule on the contested energy initiative before February.”

In an earlier article that helps to understand the timeline for this project, the Santiago Times reported, “Endesa and Colbún plan to submit the proposed (transmission line) route for evaluation to the Environmental Assessment Service in March 2012.”

Transelec – the Chilean company believed most likely to build the transmission line – is controlled by Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and the British Columbia Investment Management Corp. In February 2008, the Council of Canadians began voicing its opposition to the proposed dams and transmission line. We are demanding that the involved Canadian pension funds reject involvement in the HidroAysén project. Maude Barlow has stated, “Canadians support democracy, freedom of expression, and responsible environmental stewardship at home and around the world. But most Canadians have no idea that their pension plans are fuelling the kind of environmental destruction planned in Chile. In a global world, what can seem far away may be very close to home. Canadians must stand with the people of Chile in opposing this terrible project and condemning the undemocratic and violent actions of the state.”

As noted in previous campaign blogs, the Council of Canadians has commissioned a report on the dams, the transmission lines and Canadian mining companies in Chile to be released in early-2012.

For related blogs, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?s=HidroAysen.