We are excited to release this report about the legal status of Marañón Dams completed by our parent organisation, the Peruvian Society of Environmental Law, supported by Waterkeeper Alliance and the The Moore Foundation.
What does it all mean?
This is great news for the local populations and for a free flowing Marañón!
The Chadin II project cannot proceed, its environmental certification has expired. The project will not go ahead without a huge amount of promotion and additional investment by the company to create a new EIA, at this stage this appears highly unlikely given that the Peruvian Government cancelled its call for more energy production from large dams. We are excited to confirm this expiry, and to be able to share this information with our friends who live in this area. After more than 7 years fighting this dam, finally the local people will have peace and clarity about the future of their homes and land!
The Veracruz project is very close to being stopped, however this awaits a key decision from MINEM; or for the company to withdraw its appeal to extend the project. Enel has publicly announced that they are no longer interested in building large scale dams due to large costs and large impacts. As we begin a campaign to bring this information to the attention of Enel, we will see over the following months if they will walk the walk in regard to their ‘high sustainability standards’, or if like many other companies it is all talk.
We will continue campaigning government to ensure the dams stay buried, and to make the legislative changes needed to ensure that these mistakes cannot be repeated in the future.
- The environmental impact assessments of both the Veracruz and Chadin 2 dams have expired, because neither company has started construction within the approved timeframe. Both projects have attempted to argue for force majeure to explain the delay. The Chadin 2 appeal was rejected, and its options for appeal have been exhausted. In the case of Veracruz, for over a year, the appeal has remained under analysis by the General Directorate of Electricity of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, (MINEM) and is pending resolution.
We urge MINEM to reject the Veracruz appeal based on arguments outlined in this report.
- The fact that the Chadin II EIA is expired has not been communicated to the local populations that would be affected by this dam. The Peruvian Government does not have a methodology to communicate this information publicly; often leaving populations affected by large infrastructure projects in limbo, or worse, that private corporations could begin works under expired contracts. We urge SENACE, the responsible Peruvian Authority, to include the status of validity of an EIA in its public registry.
- The environmental impact assessments for the two projects, Veracruz and Chadin II did not consider the cumulative environmental impacts of both dams being built, despite this being required in Peru’s legal framework. This was not flagged by authorities at the time. Importantly, the Ministry of Environment has yet to develop a standardized methodology for companies to evaluate cumulative impacts. We urge the Ministry of Environment to develop guidelines for assessing cumulative impacts of infrastructure projects, and for SENACE, the authority that evaluates Environmental Impact Assessments, to prioritize this issue in its revision processes.
- The economic and energy rationale for the Veracruz and Chadin 2 dams to be built is no longer viable. Peru has an oversupply of energy and the Peruvian government has cancelled an earlier call for energy from large hydroelectric power plants. Enel, the company behind Veracruz, has openly announced that it is moving away from mega-dam projects because of high socio-environmental costs and long construction times. Despite this, however, it Enel has appealed the expiry of the Veracruz dam contract, claiming force majeure.has not formally backed away from building the Veracruz. We urge Enel to rescind the Veracruz contract, in line with the company’s public statements on sustainability.