Amazon Megadam Environmental License Is Canceled

by Rodrigo Estrada

August 4, 2016

Brazil's Environmental Protection Agency (IBAMA) announced the cancellation of the licensing process to build the São Luiz do Tapajós dam.

The project was planned to be constructed in the Tapajós, one of the last major free flowing rivers in the Brazilian Amazon. Without the license, the approval process for the megadam cannot move forward.  

Greenpeace commends the decision to cancel the licensing process. If allowed to continue, this megadam would have caused irreversible damages to the livelihood of the Munduruku Indigenous People and to the environment.

“We, Munduruku people, are very happy with the news. This is very important for us. Now, we will continue to fight against other dams in our river,” said Arnaldo Kabá Munduruku, Munduruku General Chief.

“Now that the license has been cancelled, the Brazilian Ministry of Justice must recognize its obligation and move swiftly to officially demarcate the Sawré Muybu territory,” said Danicley Aguiar, Greenpeace Brazil campaigner.

In the last few months, more than 1.2 million people around the world joined the Munduruku call to stop the São Luiz do Tapajós project and demanded multinational companies like Siemens and GE distance themselves from it.  

“This is a great victory for the Munduruku Indigenous People who live in the Tapajós region and whose traditions and rights were deeply threatened by the dam, and for everyone who cares about the Amazon forest and supports the Munduruku globally,” Aguiar added.

Other Brazilian institutions like the National Agency for Indigenous Affairs (FUNAI), and the Federal Public Prosecutor in the state of Pará had previously recommended IBAMA to cancel the license, because the project would flood Munduruku land and displace the Indigenous People — an impact deemed unconstitutional in Brazil.

In addition to the São Luiz do Tapajós, there are other 42 dams planned in the Tapajós basin and hundreds more earmarked in the Amazon. All are part of an aggressive economic model that fails to consider the critical importance of protecting the Amazon forest and its inhabitants. Previous dams built in the Amazon had significant negative impacts on communities, the environment, and have been mired in corruption scandals.

Greenpeace has been calling Brazil to focus development on truly clean energy sources and become a world leader in wind and solar energy production. With the right investments, those technologies can generate the same amount of energy that São Luiz do Tapájós would have produced and sooner than the hydroelectric dam would have.




Rodrigo Estrada, [email protected], 202-344-9292


Rodrigo Estrada

By Rodrigo Estrada

Rodrigo Estrada is an expert on legal communication. He is the global communications manager of the climate justice and liability project. Currently at Greenpeace Canada, Rodrigo has appeared in a wide range of international outlets such as CNN, Bloomberg, Vice, and many more.

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