Federal court halts work on Brazil’s Teles Pires hydropower project

BRASILIA, Brazil 3/30/12 (PennWell) — Brazil’s federal court has suspended work on the 1,800-MW Teles Pires hydroelectric project in the country’s Amazon basin, state news service Agencia Brasil says.

The decision voids the installation license awarded by Brazil’s environment regulator, Ibama, in August 2011.

Agencia Brasil says the irregularities identified by the court include a lack of prior consultation with indigenous groups, which is in conflict with both Brazilian and international law.

The court says it will fine project owner Teles Pires Energia Eficiente US$55,000 per day should it not comply with an immediate suspension of natural rock explosions.

The project is now in limbo as the government is deciding whether to uphold the court’s restraining order.

Teles Pires Energia Eficiente is a consortium that is comprised of utility holding company Neoenergia, state-run utilities Eletrobras Furnas and Eletrobras Eletrosul, and engineering company Odebrecht.

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