Last update:
2014-05-26

Barra Grande Dam on River Pelotas, Brazil

Description:

The Barra Grande Hydroelectric Plant is currently running up on the border between the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. It was built and is operating by the Brazilian business consortium called Barra Grande Energetica S/A (BAESA Inc), which includes the US aluminum giant ALCOA. The participation of ALCOA in this project is not surprising given that the aluminum industry is the world’s largest industrial consumer of electrical energy, using about 1% of all the electrical energy generated globally, and about 7% of world industrial consumption. In the case of Brazil, the aluminum industry accounts for roughly 8% of the country’s total electricity use.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Barra Grande Dam on River Pelotas, Brazil
Country:Brazil
State or province:Rio Grande do Sul e Santa Catarina
Location of conflict:Celso Ramos
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Dams and water distribution conflicts
Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Biodiversity
Land
Electricity
Water
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Installed power: 500 to 1000 MW

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Project area:8,140,00
Level of Investment:623,000,000.00
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/09/2004
End of the conflict:03/11/2009
Company names or state enterprises:Camargo Corrêa Cimentos S/A from Brazil - shareholder
DME Energética Ltda from Brazil - Shareholder
Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio from Brazil - Shareholder
Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) from United States of America - shareholder
Companhia Paulista de Força e Luz from Brazil - Shareholder, power generation
Engevix Engenharia S.A. from Brazil - The company conducted the EIA
Votorantim Group from Brazil
Relevant government actors:Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA); Ministry of Mines and Energy; Environment Ministry; Attorney General of Nation; Federal Public Ministry (Federal Prosecutors); National Electric Energy Agency
International and Finance InstitutionsBanco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) from Brazil - Financer
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Rede de ONG´s da Mata Atlântica (RMA), Federação de Entidades Ecologistas Catarinenses (FEEC), Instituto AquaBios, Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (MAB), Associação de Preservação do Meio Ambiente do Alto Vale do Itajaí (APREMAVI)
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
The Movement of Populations Affected by Dams (Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens – MAB) and Land of Rights (Terra de Direitos) have filed a complaint with the OECD’s National Contact Point for Brazil (OECDWatch)
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:This is definitely not a case of successful environmental justice because despite all the illegality committed by the consortium entrepreneur the dam was built and is operating. The economic argument won against environmental legislation.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Rosa, Michel Fernandes da (2012). A relação entre ser humano e natureza sob a influência da modernidade observada através do direito : estudo a partir do caso da usina hidroelétrica Barra Grande. Coimbra. Dissertação de Mestrado em Sociologia, apresentada à Faculdade de Economia da Universidade de Coimbra.
[click to view]

Prochnow, M. (2005) Org.. Bara Grande: a hidrelétrica que não viu a floresta. Rio do Sul
[click to view]

ENGEVIX (1997). Relatório de Impacto Ambiental (RIMA): UHE Barra Grande.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

About Atlantic Forest
[click to view]

Dossiê Barra Grande - documentos/pareceres/cartas.
[click to view]

Observatório Sócio-Ambiental de Barragens
[click to view]

OECDWatch
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Video about Barra Grande Dam Conflict
[click to view]

Photo shoots of the deforested area (before and after the flood), endangered species, popular mobilizations and affected people
[click to view]

Other documents

application of the lawsuit Full text of the application of the public civil action lawsuit
[click to view]

application of the lawsuit Full text of the application of the public civil action lawsuit
[click to view]

application of the lawsuit Full text of the application of the public civil action lawsuit
[click to view]

EIA/Rima The Environmental Impact Assessment and its Environmental Impact Report
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Michel Fernandes da Rosa
Last update26/05/2014
Comments
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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