SETENA Rejects Study for Pocosol Dam

October 1, 2004

THE environmental-impact study fora controversial dam project was rejectedthis week by the Technical Secretariat ofthe Environment and Energy Ministry(SETENA).The study for the Pocosol hydroelectricdam in the Northern Zone was rejectedMonday because it was not receivedwithin the allotted one-year time limit,according to Mariano Peinador, directorof SETENA’s project administrationdepartment.The energy cooperative ConeléctricasR.L., which manages the project, must nowstart the process over and resubmit the project’sproposal to SETENA, he said.Last month, Coneléctricas uncoveredindigenous artifacts near the proposeddam site, north of San Ramón, reportedlywhile widening access roads to thearea.The department of Anthropology andHistory of Costa Rica’s National Museumconfirmed the presence of the pre-Columbian artifacts. If Coneléctricaswants to continue construction near thesite, the company must also submit anarcheological evaluation in addition to aregular environmental-impact study,according to the museum’s department ofanthropology.Earlier this year, the San RamónMunicipal Council halted work on theproject after officials from the municipalityand the San Ramón office of theEnvironment and Energy Ministry(MINAE) visited the site.They said that if Conélectricas continuedwork it could permanently damagethe area’s ecosystem, which includes adelicate aquifer and numerous springsthat feed into the Peñas Blancas River(TT, June 11).The proposed dam site is adjacent tothe Children’s Eternal Rain Forest, a privatereserve managed by the MonteverdeConservation League.Representatives of Coneléctricas didnot return Tico Times phone calles bypress time.

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