A court in Brazil ordered the halting of work on a hydro-electric dam in the Amazon, saying that local indigenous people living nearby were not consulted.
Judge Souza Prudente said that construction can only resume on the $11 billion Belo Monte Dam if the indigenous communities agree with the construction of the project, the BBC reported.
“A study on the environmental impact of the project was required before, not after, work on the dam started. The legislation is flawed,” he said, according to the broadcaster, which cited local Brazilian media.
“The Brazilian Congress must take into account the decisions taken by the indigenous communities. Legislators can only give the go-ahead if the indigenous communities agree with the project,” he added.
If completed, the Belo Monte hydro-electric dam will be the third-largest in the world after the Itaipu dam located in southern Brazil and the Three Gorges Dam in China.
Norte Energia, the builder of the project, said the dam will be a source of clean and sustainable energy, but environmentalists said that it will cause deforestation, damage to the ecosystem, and cause a rise in greenhouse gases. Indigenous groups have said the dam will likely harm their way of life.
Norte Energia told AFP that it would respond when it gets a formal notification from the court on the ruling.
Antonia Melo, the head of the Xingu Vivo indigenous movement, said that the decision represents “a great victory which shows that Belo Monte is not a done deal. We are very happy and satisfied,” the news agency reported.
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