SAO PAULO, February 8 (Reuters) – Brazil’s Belo Monte hydroelectric dam operator reached an agreement with environmental authorities on Monday that will allow it to maintain a steady flow of energy generating water in exchange for investments to reduce environmental and other impacts.
In January, environmental agency Ibama ordered Belo Monte operator, Norte Energia, to increase water flow into the Xingu River because of concerns about damage to the environment and local communities, according to documents reviewed by Reuters.
Environmentalists and indigenous peoples have criticized the construction of the Belo Monte dam – the world’s fourth largest hydropower plant – for unduly reducing water levels in the Xingu River, destroying the local environment and traditional fishing.
On Monday, Ibama and Norte Energia said in separate statements that the dam operator would invest 157.5 million reais ($ 29.4 million) over the next three years in environmental protection and assistance for local residents. Instead, the company does not need to increase the outflow to the Xingu River.
Norte Energia is 49.98% owned by state-owned company Eletrobras with other shareholders including miners Vale SA, Light SA, Neoenergia SA and CEMIG. ($ 1 = 5,3655 reais) (Reporting by Gabriel Araujo; written by Jake Spring; editing by Richard Pullin)
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