Thursday, October 25, 2007

We Must Seek Alternatives to the Aysén Dams

SANTIAGO, Oct 25 (Tierramérica) - Alternatives must be sought to building the five big hydroelectric dams planned by the HidroAysén company in Chile's Patagonia region, says Fernando Ávila, executive director of the Association of Companies and Professionals for the Environment, AEPA, in this Tierramérica interview.

The attorney is convinced that companies can make economic profits compatible with environmental protection.

He is enthusiastic in talking about the innovations in "clean production" presented in Santiago during the first Latin American Conference on the Environment, organised Oct. 17-20 by AEPA and two other groups.

Founded in 1999 and including 70 companies that provide environmental services, and eight embassies, AEPA is "a bridge between authority and productive companies," according to Ávila.

His interest in sustainable development arose when he was project director of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, based in Lisbon, Portugal. After 22 years there, he returned to Chile in 1997, when the Law on the Environment had already been approved, which in his opinion marked "a before and after" in Chile because it required companies to present environmental impact studies.

Today what is needed is a "centre for environmental technologies -- public-private -- which has the technical authority to resolve conflicts," he says.

Excerpts from the recent conversation Ávila had with Tierramérica's Daniela Estrada in Santiago:


TIERRAMÉRICA: What do you think about the controversial project of the HidroAysén company for building five dams in Patagonia?

FA: I'm not going to speak for AEPA. I believe there are other possible solutions to avoid building the dams. If it were to serve southern Chile, perhaps it would be a good thing, but to have to set up 2,000 kilometres of cables to bring more energy to this monster that is the Metropolitan Region (Santiago) is lack of respect for the country.

Here is the full article.