Bidding on Huge Amazon Dam Project Halted Again

By: Marco Sibaja - AP Writer
By: Marco Sibaja - AP Writer

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) - A Brazilian judge on Monday suspended for a second time bidding on a massive hydroelectric dam project opposed by environmentalists, Indians and "Avatar" director James Cameron.

The ruling can be appealed by Brazil's government and a spokesman for the National Electrical Energy Association said the auction will proceed as planned on Tuesday if the decision is overturned. He declined to be named in line with association policy.

Bidding on the Belo Monte dam was suspended by the judge last week in response to a claim by the state attorney general that it could have serious environmental and social consequences. But a court in Brasilia overturned that ruling.

A federal tribunal in northern Para state released a statement
late Monday saying judge Antonio Carlos Almeida had once against
ordered bidding on construction of the Belo Monte dam halted.

The planned $11 billion, 11,000-megawatt project to dam the
Xingu River, which feeds the Amazon, would be the third-largest
such hydroelectric project in the world.

Cameron has lobbied to stop the project, visiting Brazil's
Indians and even comparing their struggle against the dam to the
plot of his blockbuster movie "Avatar."

"Avatar" depicts a fictitious Na'vi race fighting to protect
its homeland, the forest-covered moon Pandora, from plans to
extract its resources.

Environmentalists and indigenous groups say Belo Monte would
devastate wildlife and the livelihoods of 40,000 people who live in
the area to be flooded.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva insists that the
dam is essential, and says it will provide clean and renewable
energy to feed increasing demand.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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