Wednesday, December 16 at 9 a.m.
in the Supreme Court
On December 2, the Supreme Court heard arguments from the Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO) on behalf of the people and communities downstream of the Chalillo dam that the Department of Environment (DOE) has not ensured that BECOL has fully complied with the Court’s Orders of September, 2008 or fully fulfilled their obligations under the Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP) for the Macal River Upstream Storage Facility (MRSUF), commonly known as the Chalillo Dam.
BELPO said they did not want to be in court again but it seemed the only way to get the court’s orders addressed, fully. All presentations were completed on December 2nd. There was a conflict in the evidence that the Court wants resolved, which is why things are not resolved. This will happen tomorrow, Wednesday, and, possibly we might have a decision.
Interestingly enough, since we filed to return to Court, in September 2009, the sirens have been installed, signs have appeared (showing an evacuation route), there has been a meeting on the Dam Break Plan and Early Warning System in San Ignacio and NEMO said they were planning a simulation.
We should not have to go to court to get information on water quality or on the levels of mercury in the fish. We should not have to go to court to have a dam break plan and early warning system actually in place, functioning and tested (that was supposed to be done in 2005, when Chalillo went online. But that is where we are at and hopefully things will get done and people will be kept informed on an ongoing basis.
When BECOL got clearance to build the Vaca Dam, they said they wanted to wait until Vaca was completed before they completed the dam break plan and warning system. Although they were told that was not an option, it now appears that they may get their wish since the Vaca Dam is expected to go online next month, January 2010.
Please join us in Court, if you can - even if it is for a short time. It is good to show the Court how many of us are concerned.