Brazil was facing a difficult decision, but the Brazilian court ruled in favor of building one of the world’s largest hydroelectric dams, which will provide clean energy, even though it will destroy habitats and the living area of several indigenous tribes.


Federal prosecutors had filed a motion calling for suspension of construction of the Belo Monte dam, which would be the worlds 3rd largest dam, until indigenous groups are consulted and given access to environmental impact reports. However, the court ruled against this initiative, in a controversial 2-1 final vote. However, the Federal prosecutors will certainly go to the Supreme Court to appeal the ruling.

“All the studies made arrive at the same conclusion: the dam will provoke drastic changes in the food chain and livelihood of the indigenous communities,” the statement said.

If completed, the dam on the Xingu River which feeds the Amazon would cost $11 billion and provide 11,000-megawats, being surpassed only by China’s Three Gorges dam and the Itaipu, which is located on the border between Paraguay and Brazil.

Environmentalists are split up on this matter, but most believe that the 40.000 people living in the area, as well as the loss of habitat and wildlife killing that is implied by the building of this dam recommend another place for the dam to be built. Celebrities including British rock star Sting, film director James Cameron and actress Sigourney Weaver have joined activists in their stand.

Enjoyed this article? Join 40,000+ subscribers to the ZME Science newsletter. Subscribe now!

Estimate my solar savings!