About 1,000 people took to the streets of Chile’s capital Saturday to protest against a proposed hydroelectric project in the Maipo River Basin, 50 kilometers southeast of Santiago.
Chanting “For Santiago's water, No to Alto Maipo Now!” protestors walked up to the presidential palace, after actions directed at Metropolitan Santiago Intendant Claudio Orrego over the project's alleged irregularities. Orrego responded that the project was already approved by environmental authorities, and that now he will be supervizing the construction to make sure it comply with his commitment of carbon print mitigation.
Marcela Mella, spokesperson for the No a Alto Maipo campaign, said the movement planned to file lawsuits to ensure the hydroelectric plant would comply with environmental regulations.
“There is no other project like this in the world,” Socialist Party legislator Daniel Melo, member of the environment commission told Radio Cooperativa.
Melo says the plant, run by the Chilean AES Gener corporation, would involve “a tunnel of over 70 kilometers long, which will pump the water from the beds of the most important rivers of San Jose de Maipo, the destruction of the glaciers in the precordillera,” the regions in the shadows of the Andes mountain range.”
The electricity produced in the country’s south provide energy to northern mining companies, an arrangement that protesters say benefits multinationals more than the Chilean economy or local populations.
The project is due to become operational in 2018.