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19.12.04 : Judge Reverses Decision, Stops Deforestation for Brazilian Dam (Pressrelease IRN)

December 19, 2004
In a setback for a consortium led by U.S.-based aluminum giant Alcoa, on December 16th a Brazilian judge reversed his earlier decision, and upheld a restraining order prohibiting deforestation for Barra Grande dam. In his decision, Federal District Judge Vladimir Passos de Freitas cited "serious accusations that in the Environmental Impact Study (EIS)...facts of extreme relevance were omittedŠsuch as the existence of more than 2,000 hectares of primary Atlantic Coast forest."
Dam-affected communities and environmentalists applauded the judge's decision, which suspends the completion of the 180-metre-high Barra Grande, which has an installed capacity of 690 MW of electricity. The $450 million hydroelectric dam project is already 90% built.
Erico da Fonseca, a regional coordinator of Brazil's Movement of Dam-Affected People (MAB), vowed to continue the movement's fight on behalf of the 2,000 families who have lost their lands to the project. MAB played a crucial role in halting the project by mobilizing hundreds of farmers from the region to blockade logging crews trying to enter the dam site, while environmental attorneys filed lawsuits to save the forests.
Glenn Switkes of International Rivers Network says, "The Barra Grande case will increase the public scrutiny of the licensing process for large dams in Brazil, at a time when more dams are being proposed for fast-tracked processes, and there is pressure from the government and the dam building industry for projects to be approved without adequate consideration of their social and environmental impacts. Against great odds, MAB and their supporters have demonstrated the strength of their convictions, and of effectively working together."
According to Joao de Deus Medeiros, of the Santa Catarina Federation of Ecological Groups, environmentalists are calling for a new review of the project's EIS. He did not rule out a discussion with the project consortium regarding changes in the eventual operation of Barra Grande which would save the primary araucaria forests, but permit the dam to generate electricity. "If it were possible to reduce the size of the reservoir so less of the forests would be flooded, we could discuss this. But if not, there's nothing to talk about - we will continue our fight in the courts so that the construction license is cancelled, the dam is demolished, and the consortium is obliged to restore the forest it has impacted." Judge Freitas has ordered all interested parties, including the federal environmental licensing authority, IBAMA, to come together next week to try to work out a mutually-agreeable solution to the stalemate.

For more information:
Glenn Switkes, International Rivers Network, +55.11.3666.5853, ,
Erico de Fonseca, Movement of Dam-Affected People, + or +55.54.524.1857,,
Zuleica Nycz, Atlantic Coast Forest NGO Network, +55.41.3014.8096 or +55.41.3014.9866,,

17.12.04 : La ville de Saragosse élue pour héberger la prochaine Exposition Universelle

Avec le thème ‘Eau et développement durable’, la ville de Saragosse (Espagne) à été élue par les délégués attachés au Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) pour organiser la prochaine Exposition Universelle thématique en 2008. Celle-ci coïncidera avec la Décennie internationale d'action ‘l'eau, source de vie’ (2005-2015). Les autres villes candidates étaient les villes de Trieste (Italie), avec le thème ‘la mobilité de la connaissance’, et Thessalonique (Grèce) avec le thème ‘Terre mère’. L’élection s’est déroulé le 16 décembre 2004 à Paris. Saragosse a gagné l’élection avec 57 voix.
Visitez le site Internet officiel de l’Expo2008 :

16.12.04 : Ankündigung: 13. Intl. Donaukongresses in Deggendorf (Deutschland) am 18./19. Dezember 2004

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, liebe Freundinnen und Freunde,

am 18. und 19. Dezember 2004 veranstaltet der Bund Naturschutz in Bayern mit Unterstützung der Bürgeraktion "Rettet die Donau e.V." zum 13. Mal den Internationalen Donaukongress in Deggendorf.

In diesem Jahr rücken wir die Bedeutung und Gefährdung der Donau in Europa in den Vordergrund. Wissenschaftler aus Deutschland und Österreich werden am Samstag, 18. Dezember, über Pläne zum Flussausbau, Naturschutzkonzepte und Projekte zum Hochwasserschutz berichten und sich der Diskussion stellen. Besonders freuen wir uns auch auf Prof. Dr. Walter Hödl, Zoologieprofessor der Universität Wien, der uns im Abendprogramm in das Reich der Urzeitkrebse und der Schlammlingsfluren entführen und über die March-Auen im Laufe der Jahreszeiten berichten wird.

Bei der traditionellen Podiumsdiskussion am Sonntag, 19. Dezember, werden Mitglieder des Europäischen Parlaments aus Österreich und Deutschland mit Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger über die Donau als Naturraum und Verkehrsweg in Europa diskutieren. Dabei wird der Widerspruch zwischen den europaweiten Vorgaben des "Netz des Lebens" der NATURA 2000-Gebiete und der "Transeuropäischen (Verkehrs-)Netze" eingehend dargestellt.

Ich möchte Sie/Euch zu diesem Kongress sehr herzlich einladen.
Die weiteren Einzelheiten bitte ich dem Tagungsprogramm zu entnehmen.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen ,
Richard Mergner Landesbeauftragter
Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e.V. Landesfachgeschäftsstelle
Bauernfeindstraße 23
90471 Nürnberg
Tel. 0911/81 87 8-23 Fax 0911/86 95 68
e-mail :

15.12.04 : Russian flood damages : USD 1.4 bln a year say experts

Experts evaluate annual Russian inundation damages at forty billion roubles, slightly above USD 1.4 billion, Rustem Khamitov, Federal Water Resource Agency chief, said to the media. Yearly estimations vary from thirty to a hundred billion roubles, he added. Mr. Khamitov finds the latter figure bloated-damages never get over a forty billion mark, he holds.
Source: RIA Novosti via European Water Management News
more infos :

14.12.04 : Danube / UNEP : new environmental assessment launched at Danube ministerial meeting

Almost five years after a cyanide spill from a gold mine in northern Romania travelled down the Tisza river in Hungary, leaving a trail of ecological destruction in its wake, local communities in the region remain at risk from floods and industrial pollution. Despite the lessons learned from the Baia Mare catastrophe in January 2000, the Tisza river basin, its people and nature remain threatened by environmental insecurity, in particular from floods and accidental pollution risks, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme.
source: European Water Management News

26.11.04 : Spanish supreme court annuls water transfer (Environment Daily)

Spain's supreme court has annulled the country's last ongoing interregional water transfer project, confirming a radical shift in water policy since a change of government this spring (ED 17/05/04 )
more news , read more

The ruling blocks the €192m Jucar-Vinalopó scheme to transfer 300 cubic hectometres of water per year for irrigation from Castilla-La Mancha to Valencia. It limits the state's power to transfer water resources between regions in line with principles contained in the EU water framework directive. Valencia's government and horticultural associations pledged to appeal against the judgement. Spanish supreme court

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