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Will Patagonia Drown Itself for Copper?

Posted on May 13 2011

National Geographic, NPR, and the Financial Times, among other media outlets, have paid close attention to the extraordinary decision on Monday by Chilean officials to permit major dam construction in the Patagonian wilderness.

“The plan would flood more than 15,000 acres (5,900 hectares) of the vast Patagonian wilderness at the bottom of South America, and spawn a stretch of powerlines some 1,500 miles (2,450 kilometers) long to distribute energy created by the rivers.”  Pictures in National Geographic.

The NPR coverage from yesterday is more revealing: Chile’s mines use 37% of the nation’s electricity, and the country expects to double it’s energy needs over the next 9 years.  Listen to the story.

“Daniela Castro of Conservación Patagonica, an environmental group opposed to the project, said the scheme risked ruining the landscape, decimating the population of South Andean deer, spoiling fly fishing and endangering native fish stocks.”  From the Financial Times.

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