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Belize Energy Company Eco-threat

The Habitat of the Scarlet Macaw; Jaguar & Tapir in Belize is Threatened by a Multinational Energy Company…

The future of one of Central America`s most important wildlife sites, Chalillo, in Belize, remains uncertain after the privy council, the final court of appeal for Commonwealth countries, failed to rule on plans by a Canada-based multinational energy company to construct a controversial dam in the area.

In December, five appeal judges of the privy Council Court in London, the British Commonwealth`s last appeal instance, deferred a judgement sought by environmental campaigners from Belize. Their decision is unlikely until some time this year.

Chalillo is fast becoming the Three Gorges of Latin America. Conservationists argue that the building of the 160ft-high hydroelectric dam could wipe out much of the wildlife around the upper Macal River Valley, which would be flooded. This includes 20% of the world`s remaining scarlet macaws, as well as rare jaguars, tapirs and crocodiles. Sharon Matola a member of the Belize conservation alliance Bacongo, states: If the dam is built it will flood the macaws` nesting area. That will eventually mean their extinction in Belize, where there are only 200 left, because they don`t build nests but live in holes in trees ? and the trees they choose occur nowhere else in the country. Expecting the macaws to move elsewhere is like telling penguins to get used to warmer weather. The tapirs (the Belize national animal) need the special vegetation that is found in the area, plants which grow in full sun and so have few toxins but plenty of nutrition. And if the tapirs go, there`ll be nothing to attract predators like the jaguars to the area. She went on to criticize the vast amount of capital being invested in a doubtful value to the people of Belize. The dam won`t give Belize energy security - it`ll produce enough power to run three large hotels. We could burn sugar cane waste, which is abundant, or we could go on using the transmission line to Mexico, or join the new Central American grid that`s being planned.

Proact is lending its weight to the growing campaign ? you can help too! Please go to http://www.proact-campaigns.net/ppsi/id46.html where you will find links to petitions prepared by Belizian and Canadian conservation organisations.

4th July 2014