Belize scientist urges Canadian government
to stop backing rainforest dam

Leading Belize wildlife expert, Sharon Matola, urged the federal
government this week to withdraw its support for the construction of
the proposed Chalillo dam in Belize.

Invited to Ottawa by Probe International and the Sierra Club of
Canada, Sharon Matola, director of the Belize Zoo and Tropical
Education Centre, demanded Susan Whelan, the newly-appointed
minister responsible for the Canadian International Development
Agency, recall her agency's "inaccurate and grossly misleading"
assessment of the Chalillo dam.

The CIDA-funded assessment, which has cost taxpayers almost
$500,000, was prepared by Toronto-based engineering firm AMEC for
Fortis, a Newfoundland-based power company that owns Belize's
electric utility and wants to build the $45-million Chalillo dam.

While in Ottawa, Sharon Matola and Probe International's Gráinne
Ryder appeared on "Beyond Politics," hosted by Canadian Alliance
MP and foreign affairs critic, Dr. Keith Martin. Broadcast on the Shaw
Community Cable Network, Sharon and Gráinne discussed the
Canadian International Development Agency's role in financing the
Chalillo dam's environmental assessment, the effort to get the study
recalled, the complaint before the Association of Professional
Engineers of Ontario against AMEC, the Stop Fortis campaign, and
the threat to Belize wildlife in the Macal River Valley, where the dam
is to be built.

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