Amazon dam suspension overturned
Sao Paulo - A Brazilian judge on Thursday overturned a lower court ruling that suspended work on a massive hydroelectric dam in the Amazon jungle state of Para.
Federal judge Ronaldo Desterro ruled last week that Brazil's environmental agency had erred when it approved work to begin on the Belo Monte dam.
He said 29 environmental conditions had not been met, such as the recovery of degraded areas and measures to guarantee the navigability of rivers.
On Thursday, Judge Olindo Menezes of a higher federal court overturned the suspension, saying in a statement there was no need for all the conditions to be met before construction begins.
The $11bn, 11 000MW dam, to be constructed on the Xingu River feeding the Amazon, would be the world's third-largest hydroelectric energy producer behind China's Three Gorges dam and the Itaipu, which straddles the border of Brazil and Paraguay.
The government says the dam will provide clean, renewable energy and is essential to fuel the South American country's growing economy. Officials say they spent years planning to protect the environment and local residents before the dam was approved
Environmentalists and indigenous groups say it would devastate wildlife and the livelihoods of 40 000 people who live in the area to be flooded.
Celebrities including British rock star Sting, film director James Cameron and actor Sigourney Weaver have joined activists in lobbying against the dam.
When Cameron participated in protests against the project in Brazil during 2010, he compared the anti-dam struggle by indigenous people to the plot of his film Avatar, which depicts a natives of a planet fighting to protect their homeland from plans to extract its resources.