HidroAysén: High Risk and High Cost
In an article published by Reuters, HidroAysén management admit that last years eruption and continued activity of the Chaitén volcano has delayed their project and forced them to look for a new route for the transmission lines. This admission was brazenly accompanied by statements that there will be no modifications of the project as the company responds to thousands of critiques of their completely deficient Environmental Impact Analysis. After having not been capable of even submitting maps or modeling that can correctly predict the environmental impacts of this mega project, are HidroAysén partners Colbún (controlled by the Matte Group) also misinforming their shareholders and business partners about the risky nature of their dirty energy venture?
Our colleague Juan Pablo Orrego has sent word from his current trip to Europe that even banks in Italy recognize that the HidroAysén project is risky and costly, and that HidroAysén looks to be a dodgy deal that will be difficult to finance in these complex economic times. Why then do Bernardo Matte Larrain (President of Colbún) and Bernardo Larrain Matte (General Manager of Colbún and marked by the yellow arrow) say that delaying construction of the dams and the transmission lines until 2011 is only a long term promise of business as usual?
The answer to this question is because the Matte Group has literally declared "open season" on Patagonia. The fraudulent nature of the separation in the Chilean environmental review process of the dam construction from the transmission line construction is revealed in the current solicitation underway for more partners in the HidroAysén transmission lines, to be built by the Canadian company Transelec (for a great summary of this aspect of the case view the video link at Chile's Eco-Controversy on CBCNews Canada). The "open season" on Patagonia's rivers is underway, as Swiss mining giant Xstrata jumps in with the born again (ex-Alumysa) Rio Cuervo project, eagerly following Colbún and Endesa's lead in the Patagonia wide mega-hydro free for all.
Never mind the volcanos and the earthquakes! They aren't mentioned in the HidroAysén EIA, why would the Matte Group tell shareholders and business partners about them? "Rest assured," says the Matte Group, "all is according to plan." As defenders of wild Patagonia however, we know that this is a high risk project for all involved--including for businesses like The Home Depot that are economically linked to such dangerous irresponsiblity. Our job as defenders of wild rivers is to make the high risk and high cost nature of this project felt by the people in the corporations (note the yellow arrow!) that are promoting these primitive and unsustainable schemes. Join us and all of our friends who are telling The Home Depot that until they stop doing business with the Matte Group, we will not do any business with them. Stay tuned for more International Rivers Patagonia Campaign action opportunities coming soon!