Patagonia Sin Represas
The fight over whether a consortium of transnational corporations will be allowed to develop massive hydroelectric dams in Patagonia has become the biggest environmental battle in Chilean history. Pro-development forces see energy potential in southern Chile’s free-flowing rivers. A large and growing movement of Chilean NGOs and activists counter that the ecological and cultural impacts of such mega-dams and energy transmission infrastructure are unacceptable—that the nation’s energy needs can be met without destroying one of the greatest, intact, wild landscapes on Earth.
The Pumalín Foundation and Conservacion Patagonica are key members of the Council for the Defense of Patagonia, which is comprised of more than thirty organizations collectively fighting the dam scheme. This coalition of local, regional, national, and international NGOs includes many of Chile’s leading conservationists and has pursued a multi-pronged approach to oppose the dams. The Patagonia Chileana ¡Sin Represas! (“Chilean Patagonia Without Dams!”) campaign has produced detailed technical comments in response to the Environmental Impact Assessments that Hidroaysen has submitted, delaying the project and forcing the company and government regulators to better examine the project’s impacts. Dam opponents have waged a large-scale media campaign, using hundreds of billboards throughout Chile, full-page ads in local and national newspapers, radio and TV spots, and online updates to raise public awareness and generate support. An exhibit format book, Patagonia Chilena ¡Sin Represeas!, was produced as the campaign’s education centerpiece, largely through the effort and funding of Conservacion Patagonica. The Foundation for Deep Ecology has also supported several of the Chilean NGOs spearheading the dams fight.
For the latest news on effort to stop the dams and their associated 1200-mile-long transmission line, visit the Patagonia Sin Represas website.