Development & Aid, Environment, Tierramerica - Ecobrief

Ecobreves – CHILE: Approval of Thermoelectric Plant Sparks Protest

SANTIAGO, Dec 10 2012 (IPS) - Environmental organizations in Chile have expressed outrage over the ministerial approval granted for the construction of the Punta Alcalde thermoelectric power plant in the municipality of Huasco, 645 km north of Santiago. This “mistaken” decision demonstrates that “pressure from the mining sector has won out over the common good of the people of the Huasco Valley, who already face critical levels of pollution,” activist Alex Muñoz, the director of the NGO Oceana, told Tierramérica.

In November 2011, the Ministry of Environment declared a temporary moratorium on further energy sector development in the Huasco Valley, and on June 25 of this year, the project submitted by energy company Endesa-Enel was rejected by the Environmental Assessment Commission of the region of Atacama.

However, the ministers accepted the mitigation plan presented by the company for the area, where the Guacolda thermoelectric power plant and an iron mill run by the Compañía Minera del Pacífico already operate.

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