Cuiabá River

A victory for the Pantanal– the world’s largest tropical wetland! By twenty votes to three, the Legislative Assembly of the State of Mato Grosso (ALMT) this week overturned Governor Mauro Mendes’ veto to bill PL 957/2019.

Defended by socio-environmental groups, riverside communities, fishermen, and residents of the Baixada Cuiabana, the bill prohibits the installation of Small Hydroelectric Power Plants (SHPs) and Hydroelectric Power Plants (UHEs) on the Cuiabá River. The bill was originally rejected by Governor Mauro Mendes earlier this year, even though it was approved by a large majority of legislators. Now, with that veto overturned, PL 957/2019 must again be sanctioned by the governor so that it can be implemented as a law.

PL 957/2019 is authored by state deputy Wilson Santos. Last Wednesday (17), the Mato Grosso Forum for the Environment and Development (Formad) filed a technical note with the Board of Directors of ALMT, rebutting the arguments used by the governor in his veto. The document explored four points to justify the constitutionality of the prohibition of enterprises on the banks of the Cuiabá River, contradicting the argument of “formal unconstitutionality”. Read the technical note here.

“The demolition of hydroelectric plants and large infrastructure projects that destroy nature is a global trend, with great positive examples such as the United States, Holland and New Zealand. This decision guarantees the health of the Cuiabá River, the conservation of biodiversity, fish and the maintenance of fishing activity in the region. It is yet another important victory achieved by the strength of the mobilization and popular struggle in defense of the environment.” says Flávio Montiel, director of International Rivers in Brazil.

The Cuiabá River Basin covers an area of ​​22,851 km², located entirely in the state of Mato Grosso, in the south-central portion. According to experts consulted by ECOA, the dams represent a death sentence for fish in the Pantanal.