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NEWS: Home Depot, our pension plan, and the Patagonia power project

Alternet reports that, “shareholders attending The Home Depot’s Annual Meeting (today in Atlanta, Georgia) will be confronted with protesters declaring ‘Dam The Home Depot, Save Patagonia’s Rivers.’ The action is the latest in a series of events that aim to highlight the connection between The Home Depot and proposals to build a series of dams on the wild rivers of Chile’s Patagonia.”

“It in this spectacular wilderness that Chilean and European multinational corporations are planning a series of 5 big dams on two rivers, and more than 1500 miles worth of transmission lines to connect the dams to Chile’s industrial centers in the north. The transmission lines would require the world’s longest clearcut through globally rare forests and roadless wilderness. The dams would wreak havoc on the region’s ecosystems and destroy a delicate web of life.”

“Every year, the Matte Group, considered the ‘de facto’ owner of the Chilean energy company involved in the dam scheme, sells 50 million dollars of wood products to The Home Depot. This economic relationship ties customers of The Home Depot to the proposal to destroy rivers and forests in Chile’s Patagonia, and is clearly contrary to The Home Depot’s stated commitment to help their customers be environmentally conscious shoppers.”

There is also a Canadian connection. As we have noted previously in an action alert, the Chilean utility, HQI Transelec Chile S.A is owned by a consortium led by Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc., and notably includes the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, and the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation.

(Cord Weekly further explains that, “a consortium named HidroAysen, owned by Chile’s two biggest wood and pulp producers, the Matte Group and the Angelini group, and also by two of Europe’s biggest utility companies, Enel from Italy and Acciona from Spain, is hoping to put two dams on the Pascua and Baker rivers. The companies hope that these dam-created reservoirs will generate electricity for Chile’s largest cities and growing mining industry. …Canadian companies such as Brookfield Asset Management, along with the support of the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, are involved in building the destructive transmission lines.)

Our ‘Action Alert:: Stop Canadian pension funds from destroying Patagonia’ is at http://canadians.org/action/2008/04-Feb-08.html.

The Alternet article is at http://www.alternet.org/environment/140283/home_depot_throws_green
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The Cord Weekly article is at http://www.cordweekly.com/cordweekly/news?news_id=2132.

More on this at http://blogs.ajc.com/business-beat/2009/05/27/timber-controversy-at-home-depot-annual-meeting-thursday/?cxntfid=blogs_business_beat