Construction of the Belo Monte Dam project, near Altamira, Brazil. Photo ©Daniel Beltra / Greenpeace

29 August 2012 ( – Brazil's Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered work on the controversial Belo Monte dam in the Amazon to resume, overturning a lower court order that suspended the project less than two weeks ago. Construction activities by the Norte Energia, the consortium building the dam, resumed immediately, according to the Associated Press.

Supreme Court Justice Ayres Britto granted the request for an injunction made by the Attorney-General on the grounds that the lower court "disregarded" an earlier decision by the Supreme Court. However Britto said the new ruling could still be revised.

Cleber Buzatto, executive director CIMI, an indigenous rights group, told the A.P. his organization would continue to fight Belo Monte.

"We are confident that in analyzing the merit of the case, the court will see that the government has focused all its arguments on the economic aspects of the project and none on the impact it will have on human lives."

Belo Monte is strongly backed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, but widely opposed by environmentalists, human rights groups, and indigenous organizations who say the project will adversely affect local livelihoods and destroy the Xingu River, a major tributary of the Amazon River. For Belo Monte to be commercially viable year round, two more dams will have to be build upstream, according to Amazon expert Philip Fearnside, who notes the dam will generate substantial greenhouse gas emissions through the flooding of tens of thousands of hectares of forest and decay of vegetation during seasonal drawdowns. Belo Monte will redirect the flow of about 80 percent of the Xingu over a 100-km stretch of the river.

Brazil's controversial Belo Monte back on track after court decision overruled



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