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Cablegate: South America Esth News, Number 110

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INTERIOR FOR FWS: TOM RILEY
INTERIOR FOR NPS: JONATHAN PUTNAM
INTERIOR PASS USGS FOR INTERNATIONAL: J WEAVER
JUSTICE FOR ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES: JWEBB
EPA FOR INTERNATIONAL: CAM HILL-MACON
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NSF FOR INTERNATIONAL: HAROLD STOLBERG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAGR EAID TBIO ECON SOCI XR BR
SUBJECT: SOUTH AMERICA ESTH NEWS, NUMBER 110

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1. The following is the one-hundred-tenth in a series of
newsletters, published by the Brasilia Regional Environmental Hub,
covering environment, science and technology, and health news in
South America. The information below was gathered from news sources
from across the region, and the views expressed do not necessarily
reflect those of the Hub office or our constituent posts.
Addressees who would like to receive a user-friendly email version
of this newsletter should contact Larissa Stoner at
stonerla@state.gov. The e-mail version also contains a calendar of
upcoming ESTH events in the region. NOTE: THE NEWSLETTER IS NOW
ALSO AVAILABLE ON THE BRASILIA INTRANET PAGE, BY CLICKING ON THE
'HUB' LINK.

2. Table of Contents

Agriculture
--(3)Stakeholder Group Mulls 'Responsible Soy'
--(4)Brazil Extends Amazon Soy Ban

Health
--(5)South-South Cooperation to Fight Child Malnutrition

Forests
--(6)Brazil Slaps Millions in Environmental Fines on Steel
Companies
--(7)Brazil Police Arrest Loggers in Amazon Reserve
--(8)Brazil to Set Up Amazon Protection Fund
--(9)Brazil Environment Agency Seizes Amazon Soy, Corn
--(10)Colombian Drug Cartels Blamed For the Destruction of
Rainforest
--(11)Brazil Announces Plan for Sustainable Amazon Development

Fishing & Marine Conservation
--(12)Guyana Gets Go-Ahead for the Import of Shrimp

Protected Areas
--(13)Colombia to Add More Land to Its National Park System
--(14)Oil and Gas Exploration Plans Rile Argentina's Tourist
Destinations

Science & Technology
--(15)Brazil Biotech 'Held Back' By Regulatory Barriers

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--(16)Lula Tries To Build South American Antarctic Research Program

Climate Change
--(17)Scientists Probe Chile's Coast for Climate Change Factors
--(18)Brazil's Amazon Conservation Efforts worth $100 Billion

Pollution
--(19)Brazilian Court Ruling Targets Impact Fees

Waste Management & Recycling
--(20)Argentina Approves Recycled Plastic for Food Containers

Mining & Other Extractive Industries
--(21)Venezuela Halts Two Gold Mining Projects
--(22)Guyana, Brazil to Work Closer On Conflict Diamonds
--(23)World Wildlife Fund Guyana Pushing Safer Mining Practices

Energy
--(24)Chile to Build Eco-Friendly Dams
--(25)Sugar Cane Surpasses Hydroelectric Dams in Brazil Energy
Complex
--(26)Editorial: Challenges of Installing Wind Power in Chile

General
--(27)Scientists Monitor Eruption's Fallout in Chile
--(28)Chile Enviro Groups Give Bachelet Lukewarm Review

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Agriculture
-----------

3. Stakeholder Group Mulls 'Responsible Soy'

May 2008 - Can agricultural standards be developed voluntarily that
would make South America's boom in soy cultivation environmentally
sustainable? A multi-stakeholder group including representatives of
agribusiness, environmental organizations, the banking industry and
academia convened in Buenos Aires last month on the theory that such
an initiative might be possible. "Until recently we thought
productivity was not compatible with sustainability," Gustavo
Grobocopatel, a leading Argentine soy producer, said at the April
23-24 meeting, called The Round Table Conference on Responsible Soy.

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"We discovered the opposite is true." South America has played a
large part in the expansion of world soy production. Brazil,
Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia alone account for more than half of
the world's soy crop, with production in each of these countries
increasing at a rate of 10% annually.

Source - EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete
article)

4. Brazil Extends Amazon Soy Ban

June 17, 2008 - Grain crushers have extended a two-year-old
moratorium on the purchase of soybeans planted in areas of the
Amazon rain forest cut down after 2006. Brazil's environment
minister Carlos Minc made the announcement together with the
Brazilian Vegetable Oils Industry Association, a soy industry group,
as part of a larger effort to regulate land use in the world's
largest remaining tropical wilderness. The original ban began July
31, 2006, and was scheduled to end on July 31 of this year. It will
now remain in effect until July 23, 2009. Minc told reporters in
Brazil's capital that he would work to fashion similar agreements
with loggers, slaughterhouses, and steel mills in the Amazon. The
current moratorium seems to be preventing additional rain forest
destruction in the name of soy expansion: A study conducted by
Greenpeace and the oils industry association concludes that no new
soybean plantations were detected in any of the 193 areas that
registered deforestation (250 acres or more) during the first year
of the moratorium.

Source - Miami Herald

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Health
------

5. South-South Cooperation to Fight Child Malnutrition

May 7, 2008 - Cooperation between Latin American countries, which is
"cheap, efficient and horizontal", could fast-track the fight
against child malnutrition, said Nils Kastberg, the regional
director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), at a
conference held in Santiago, Chile. Kastberg called on Latin

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American and Caribbean countries to commemorate the 200th
anniversary of their independence from Spain in 2010 with a specific
goal in mind: ensuring that no child is undernourished. In his
view, the challenge could be achieved with political will and a
pan-American spirit, by harnessing South-South cooperation. He said
indigenous communities and migrants are two of the most vulnerable
populations that could benefit from South-South cooperation on child
malnutrition. There have already been experiences of cross-border
cooperation, where immigrants are covered by the health system, even
when their status is irregular and of training courses for customs
personnel. South-South cooperation is a goldmine the region has not
yet learned to exploit. A continent-wide strategy needs to be
developed," said Cristina Lazo, executive director of the Chilean
Agency for International Cooperation (AGCI).

Source - IPS News

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Forests
-------

6. Brazil Slaps Millions in Environmental Fines on Steel Companies

June 13, 2008 - Brazil is imposing US$250 million in fines on steel
companies caught using charcoal made from illegally logged forests.
Carlos Minc, the environment minister, said 60 steel companies in
three states face 414 million reals (US$250 million) in fines and
must replant about 27,181 acres (11,000 hectares) of forest for
using the illegal coal. He said charcoal companies would be fined a
total of 70 million reals (US$43 million). Brazil has very few coal
mines and demand for wood-based charcoal for use in steel mills is a
major driver of deforestation in the Amazon and other regions. In
this case, the illegal charcoal came from the Cerrado, a
savanna-like ecosystem that occupies much of central Brazil, and the
Pantanal, a huge wetland that extends into Bolivia and Paraguay.

Source -GMA News

7. Brazil Police Arrest Loggers in Amazon Reserve

May 29, 2008 - Brazilian federal police arrested at least 40 members
of an illegal logging operation in an Amazon tribal Indian

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reservation amid growing concern over destruction of the world's
largest rain forest. The operation cleared the equivalent of 70,000
football fields of virgin forest in the Vale do Guapore Indian
reserve in Mato Grosso state, the federal police said in a
statement. Among those arrested were loggers, highway and military
police officers, neighboring farmers, and state civil servants. The
loggers bribed officials of the government's Indian foundation Funai
and befriended Indians with gifts such as cars, motorcycles and
chain saws, a Mato Grosso police spokeswoman told Reuters.

Source - Reuters

8. Brazil to Set Up Amazon Protection Fund

May 29, 2008 - Brazil's state-run development bank will set up an
international donations fund for the preservation of the Amazon as
the country fends off criticism for not doing enough to preserve its
rain forest. Luciano Coutinho, president of the National Economic
and Social Development Bank (BNDES), told reporters the first
contribution was already being negotiated with the Norwegian
government and could be up to $200 million. The BNDES, which has the
Environment Ministry's mandate to manage the fund, already has
credit lines to help companies that respect the Kyoto protocol on
greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment. Brazilian
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has dismissed foreign concern
over Amazon preservation on several occasions in the past few days
after the resignation of Environment Minister Marina Silva. He said
countries that had already chopped down their forests and were among
the worst polluters should not be giving Brazil environmental advice
or talking about the Amazon as if it belonged to the world.

Source - Reuters

9. Brazil Environment Agency Seizes Amazon Soy, Corn

May 21, 2008 - Brazil's environmental agency Ibama seized some 4,740
tons of soy, corn and rice grown on illegally deforested land in the
Amazon, as the country struggles with its environmental image
abroad. Very little of Brazil's production of grains and biofuels
occurs anywhere near the Amazon, but the price of beef has risen to
levels that make ranching in the Amazon profitable. Loggers,
shadowy real estate companies, and squatters account for most of the

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illegal deforestation in the region. With the recent seizure, IBAMA
agents took over the fields of a farm in the southeast of Para
state. Although the owner of 500 hectares (1,235 acres) in the town
of Dom Eliseu had previously been fined for illegal deforestation, a
second inspection showed crops were planted there. The owner was
fined an additional 8 million reais ($4.8 million). The fields that
are beginning to harvest contain 1,740 tons of soy, 2,640 tons of
corn and 360 tons of rice. The owner has 20 days to present his
appeal in defense against the fine. The seized soy, corn and rice
may go toward the government's Zero Hunger program that subsidizes
food for Brazil's poor.

Source - Reuters

10. Colombian Drug Cartels Blamed For the Destruction of Rainforest

May 23, 2008 - Drug cultivation is the biggest cause of
deforestation in Colombia with 741,000 acres of rainforest cleared
every year, the country's vice-president has said. So far,
Colombia's coca producers have destroyed 5.5 million acres of
rainforest with slash and burn cultivation. About half a ton of
pesticides, fertilizers, sulphuric acid and other chemicals are then
used to turn every acre of coca into pure cocaine. Francisco Santos
Calderon, the vice-president of Colombia, stated that the
environmental "devastation" caused by drug producers had gone
largely unnoticed. Colombia's controversial, US-funded policy of
eradicating coca fields is also inflicting immense environmental
damage. Last year, the authorities destroyed about 400,000 acres,
mostly with indiscriminate aerial spraying. Colombia's peasant
farmers grow coca alongside normal food crops. Aerial spraying
destroys everything, forcing them to move to new land and clear more
forest.

Source - The Daily Telegraph

11. Brazil Announces Plan for Sustainable Amazon Development

May 9, 2008 - Brazil's government unveiled new eco-friendly
development plans for the Amazon rain forest, including low-cost
loans to farmers and emergency measures to combat illegal logging.
The Sustainable Amazon Plan will grant farmers 1 billion real
(US$600 million) loans at 4 percent annual interest, well below the

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country's benchmark 11.75 percent rate, to adopt eco-friendly
farming methods and encourage reforestation. In a bid to reconcile
economic development with conservation, the government is also
offering food, social security and unemployment benefits to 40,000
families once involved in logging, as it develops other programs to
help them find new sources of income. The plan also aims to improve
Amazon highways and river transport, expand ports and broaden access
to electricity. NOTE: Long-term Planning Minister Mangabeira Unger
was given the lead of this program, causing discomfort between
President Lula and Environment Minister Marina Silva and eventually
leading to her resignation. END NOTE.

Source - Associated Press

-----------------------------
Fishing & Marine Conservation
-----------------------------

12. Guyana Gets Go-Ahead for the Export of Shrimp

June 05, 2008 - Over the past decade and one half, Guyana has been
witnessing a thriving shrimp industry. The success of the shrimp
industry has called for several important measures to be taken
before the Seabob variety of shrimp could be exported to the United
States. In an attempt to save and protect sea turtles, it has
become mandatory for shrimp trawlers to install The Turtle Extractor
Device (TED), on their shrimp nets. This device is a safety
mechanism that prevents the turtles from being trapped in the shrimp
nets. Because of the importance of the Seabob market in the United
States, the Guyana Fisheries Department, Ministry of Agriculture and
the Guyana Association of Private Trawler Owners and Seafood
Processors, have been constantly monitoring the wharves where the
trawlers off-load their catch. This constant and increased
monitoring by competent authorities in Guyana has achieved positive
results for the country's fishing industry, resulting in Guyana's
re-certification for shrimp exportation to the United States of
America as of May 1, 2008.

Source -Guyana Chronicle

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Protected Areas

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13. Colombia to Add More Land to Its National Park System

May 2008 - Hoping to curb problems including illegal logging and
mining, Colombia gave itself an Earth Day gift, announcing it would
create 11 national parks and expand five existing ones. Juan
Lozano, Colombia's minister of the environment, housing, and
territorial development, says the move will add 370,000 acres
(150,000 hectares) to the nation's 28.2-million-acre
(11.4-million-ha) park system and help "guarantee the environmental
sustainability of the nation". By the end of 2009, new parks will
be designated in locations including Portete Bay on the Caribbean;
the paramos of the Pinche mountains in southwest Colombia; and in
the Pacific Coast's Malaga Bay, the world's principal breeding and
calving ground for humpback whales (Megaptera novaeanglaie). Among
the five parks to be expanded are two on the Caribbean-Isla de
Salamanca, a Ramsar site, and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a Unesco
World Heritage site that includes the world's highest coastal range.
Environmentalists call the decision long overdue, citing the damage
being done to Colombian ecosystems by logging, mining, and the
voracious expansion of the agricultural frontier.

Source - EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete
article)

14. Oil and Gas Exploration Plans Rile Argentina's Tourist
Destinations

May 2008 - A government call for bids on oil and gas exploration
near Argentina's oldest national park has touched off debate in
Bariloche, one of the country's foremost tourist destinations. At
issue is a decision by the government of Rio Negro, the Patagonian
province where Bariloche is located, to include the
4,000-square-mile (10,000-sq-km) Nirihuau basin among the last of a
total of 18 oil and gas concessions it has leased since early 2006.
The province has been looking to attract exploration projects amid a
decline in Argentine oil and gas reserves that has generated fears
of domestic energy shortages. The effort has not gone down well in
the Andean mountain city of Bariloche, where concerns about the
effects of energy projects on the environment and the tourism
industry run strong. A portion of the proposed concession area

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comes within three miles (five kms) of the 1.7-million-acre
(700,000-ha) Nahuel Huapi National Park, which was created in 1934,
and lies 16 miles (25 kms) from Bariloche. All five of the
principal candidates in Bariloche's mayoral campaign opposed the oil
and gas exploration, pledging that, if elected, they would ask the
province to cancel it.

Source - EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete
article)

--------------------
Science & Technology
--------------------

15. Brazil Biotech 'Held Back' By Regulatory Barriers

June 9, 2008 - Brazil has the "building blocks" for an innovative
health biotechnology sector, but is held back by regulatory barriers
and poor coordination between the public and private sectors, say
the authors of a new study. The authors, from the McLaughlin-Rotman
Centre for Global Health (MRC), based at the University Health
Network and the University of Toronto, Canada, used case studies
from 19 domestically-owned private biotechnology companies and four
public sector research institutions to draw their conclusions,
published last week in the June issue of Nature Biotechnology.
Development of products like vaccines, medicines, and diagnostic
kits has made considerable progress in Brazilian companies in recent
years, the authors found. Products have been developed to deal with
local health problems that are often ignored by larger international
pharmaceutical companies (e.g., malaria, Chagas disease, and dengue
fever). But barriers remain, say the authors. For example, it can
take seven years to process patent applications, and there are often
long delays in the ethics approval process for clinical trials.

Source - SciDev

16. Lula Tries To Build South American Antarctic Research Program

May 12, 2008 - Representatives of Brazil and six other South
American nations met in Rio de Janeiroto discuss a joint strategy
to pool resources fo research in Antarctica. According to
BrazilianScience and Technology Minister Sergio Rezende, th

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meeting aims to "measure the needs" of South American scientists to
organize a multilateral science program in the South Pole. The other
six countries which participated in the meeting are Argentina,
Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and Ecuador.

Source - Folha de Sao Paulo

--------------
Climate Change
--------------

17. Scientists Probe Chile's Coast for Climate Change Factors

June 18, 2008 - An international team of scientists began delving
into the mysteries of Chile's coastal waters, hoping to unlock the
secrets of the deep - particularly as they might relate to global
climate change. Experts from some of the world's leading research
universities headed out from the Region II city of Iquique aboard
the research vessel Armada Vidal Gormaz. The 10-day oceanographic
cruise is serving as the base for pioneering research in "oxygen
minimum zones" found only off the coasts of northern Chile and
southern Peru. These masses of water with extremely low oxygen
content - and with the microorganisms that inhabit them - could
serve as a crystal ball for what some ocean waters could be like in
a warmer world.

Source - Santiago Times

18. Brazil's Amazon Conservation Efforts worth $100 Billion

May 29, 2008 - A plan to protect large expanses of the Amazon
rainforest could reduce carbon emissions by 1.1 billion tons by
2050, according to a study presented in Bonn, Germany at the UN
Convention on Biological Diversity. Assessing the carbon stored in
forests protected under the Brazil's Amazon Region Protected Areas
Program (ARPA) -- a program created in 2003 that seeks to preserve
some 40 million hectares of Amazon rainforest by 2012 -- researchers
at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil and the Woods
Hole Research Center in Massachusetts estimate that areas protected
by the initiative hold some 4.6 billion tons of carbon. Forecasting
the expected forest loss if the designated areas were not protected,
the researchers calculate that the program will avoid some 1.1

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billion tons of carbon emissions. By some estimates, including the
British government's Stern Review, the emissions reductions could be
worth more than 100 billion dollars. The Stern Review's estimates
calculated the long-term cost of one ton of carbon dioxide at $312
per ton of carbon (using present value of $85 per ton).

Source - Mongabay

---------
Pollution
---------

19. Brazilian Court Ruling Targets Impact Fees

May 2008 - Four years ago, Brazil's leading business lobby - the
National Industrial Confederation (CNI) - asked the country's
Supreme Court to overturn a 2000 law establishing environmental
impact fees for industrial projects, levies that promised to become
a significant source of conservation funding in Brazil. In April
2008 however, the Supreme Court ruled the case and removed parts of
the statute. Most importantly, it ruled that government authorities
cannot-as has been their practice-fix a minimum impact fee based on
0.5% of a project's initial investment, saying this unfairly
penalizes companies that spend on pollution control. The high court
said impact fees are allowable if calculated according to each
project's expected environmental impacts. Analysts agree that this
could mean delays in the licensing of industrial projects since the
government must complete and implement a methodology for such
calculations. And once the methodology is in place, they say, it's
possible impact fees might wind up higher than they would have been
under the system of minimum charges used initially.

Source - EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete
article)

----------------------------
Waste Management & Recycling
----------------------------

20. Argentina Approves Recycled Plastic for Food Containers

May 05, 2008 - Argentina's National Industrial Technology Institute

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(INTI) has approved a technique for manufacturing food containers
from recycled plastic bottles. The institute advised the Ministry
of Health in adapting an internationally accepted technology that
has never been used in Argentina, INTI engineer Alejandro Ariosti
told Tierramerica. Now, plastic containers that have been thrown
out will be sanitized, melted, and sold to be mixed with "virgin"
materials to manufacture new containers for food and beverages. In
Argentina, bottles from soft drinks and cooking oils made with
polyethylene terephthalate (PET) were rendered and used to make
textiles, but only now has its safety for re-use as food containers
been proved.

Source - Tierramerica

------------------------------------
Mining & Other Extractive Industries
------------------------------------

21. Venezuela Halts Two Gold Mining Projects

May 2008 - Citing concerns about the environment, small miners, and
Indian tribes, Venezuela's Environment and Natural Resources
Ministry on April 30 blocked two large North American gold-mining
projects in the mineral-rich Imataca Forest Reserve near the border
with Guyana. The measure cheered green advocates fearing cyanide
contamination in the 9.4-million-acre (3.8-million-ha) Imataca
Reserve, home to five Indian groups and half a dozen important
rivers. But it irked the mining companies, Canada's Crystallex
International and Gold Reserve of the United States, which between
them expected to tap gold deposits totaling nearly 25 million
ounces. The conflict between the two mining companies and the
Venezuelan government reflects the troubled history of the Imataca
Reserve, with its deposits of gold, diamonds, and copper, and its
tropical-forest habitat for jaguars, anteaters, and nearly 500
species of birds. Contradicting his presidential campaign promises,
President Hugo Chavez in 2004 opened 12% of the reserve to mining
and another 60% to logging to attract foreign investment. But
Indians and other locals who worked as small scale miners protested
that they were being pushed out by multinationals. Protests erupted
in 2005, when local miners claimed to have been violently evicted
from the Crystallex concession. In 2005, President Chvez reversed
course, announcing he would favor small-scale mining cooperatives

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over private companies in granting concessions and would give them
technical assistance to reduce pollution. Last month, he took that
decision to its seemingly logical extreme, stripping the two North
American companies of mining rights they believed they already had
won.

Source - EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete
article)

22. World Wildlife Fund Guyana Pushing Safer Mining Practices

June 06, 2008 - Even as Guyana's gold mining sector continues to
attract criticism from environmentalists and host nation lobbyists
over mining practices considered harmful to the human and physical
environment, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Secretariat in Guyana
says that it will continue to collaborate with the Guyana Geology
and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners
Association (GGDMA), the local gold-miners, lobby groups, and mining
communities to help move the industry towards more sustainable
mining practices. Last April WWF met with local miners to sensitize
them to the impact of mining on the ecosystems, to provide
information on problems facing the mining comQy, and to work
collaboratively to develop improved mining practices. WWF is also
involved in environmental impact monitoring to determine the effects
of mining on the environment. "We do a fair amount of monitoring of
the environment to determine mercury use, suspended solids
concentrations, and water quality", said WWF representative Rickford
Vieira. Meanwhile, the WWF will shortly be providing the Guyana
Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) with a US$30,000 grant
to secure the services of a consultant to train miners in how to
develop tailings facilities to contain mining waste in order to
prevent the contamination of streams used by the communities for
domestic purposes.

Source - Starbroeknews

23. Guyana, Brazil to Work Closer On Conflict Diamonds

JUNE 06, 2008 - Guyana Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Acting
Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC)
William Woolford met recently with Brazil's Deputy Minister of Mines
and Energy Claudio Seliar to discuss the ongoing commitment of the

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two countries to controlling the international trade in conflict
diamonds. Guyana and Brazil are signatories to the Kimberley
Process, a regulatory system backed by the United Nations which
seeks to track the international production and movement of
diamonds. The Process stipulates that freshly mined diamonds should
be sealed in registered containers that certify their country of
origin and that diamond exporters do not accept unregistered gems
that might profit insurgents or criminals.

Source - Stabroek News

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Energy
------

24. Chile to Build Eco-Friendly Dams

May 28, 2008 - Chilean energy company Colbun, in partnership with
Fondo Independencia, plans to build five small-scale hydroelectric
dams over the next two years, with two completed in 2008. Slated
for Regions VII and VIII, the so-called run-of-the-river dams will
have a generating capacity of between 10 and 15 MW each. Together
they are expected to cost some US$40 million. Colbun and Fondo
Independencia agreed last year to spend US$100 million on
non-conventional renewable energy projects. The partners plan to
construct three more slightly larger dams next year. Colbun is one
of Chile's major energy producers. It is currently at the center of
a major controversy over its plans - together with Spanish-Italian
electricity giant Endesa - to build five massive hydroelectric dams
in far southern Chile's Aysen region.

Source - Santiago Times

25. Sugar Cane Surpasses Hydroelectric Dams in Brazil Energy
Complex

May 8, 2008 - In 2007, sugar cane and cane-based ethanol became more
important energy sources than hydroelectric power plants in Brazil's
overall energy complex, topped only by petroleum and oil products.
The government's energy planning agency EPE said sugar cane had a 16
percent share in the country's so-called energy matrix -- a
combination of all sources of energy including fuels and electricity

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- while power dams were left behind with a 14.7 percent share. Oil
and derivatives had a 36.7 percent weighting, dropping from 37.8
percent in 2006. EPE President Mauricio Tolmasquim attributed the
growing role of sugar cane to booming demand for ethanol as a motor
fuel, but expected more cane and ethanol to be used for electricity
generation as well. In February 2007, the consumption of ethanol
surpassed that of gasoline for the first time in two decades. The
trend is driven by a drop in ethanol prices and huge sales of
flex-fuel cars that can run on ethanol, gasoline, or any mix of the
two.

Source - The New York Times

26. Editorial: Challenges of Installing Wind Power in Chile

April 30, 2008 - Lately, wind powered energy has been on the minds
of many in Chile. Dozens of projects involving this type of energy
production are presently being discussed and planned throughout the
country. Experts speculate that such projects could contribute 400
MW to the Central Interconnected System (SIC) of national
electricity. However, developing wind powered energy projects is not
as easy as it may seem, as there are many technical and market
conflicts that must be resolved before renewable energy can unfold
in Chile. First of all, it is necessary to clarify that an optimal
site for wind power (approximately 50 windmills that would
contribute 75 MW of power) would in reality only contribute an
average of about 30 percent of its potential to the system. This
means that the remaining 70 percent of the time, the windmills would
be inactive due to lack of wind or an excess of wind. Another
problem that wind powered energy projects face is land speculation
for property suitable for wind installations. The third problem
these projects face is the precarious land ownership situation that
affects Chile's rural sectors. Finally, one of the most important
factors to be considered has to do with the distance of the wind
power site from the plant where the electricity will be received to
connect it with the rest of the electrical system.

Source - Santiago Times

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General
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27. Scientists Monitor Eruption's Fallout in Chile

May 2008 - Palena province, home to some of Chile's most spectacular
terrain, has literally been under a cloud since the awakening of
long-dormant Chaiten volcano. Some experts forecast severe
environmental damage on account of the eruption, Chaiten's first in
more than 9,000 years. They say a prolonged eruption could take a
serious toll on the region's temperate rainforest and cause many
other problems, ranging from water contamination to worsening of the
ozone hole. Chaiten's eruption began May 2, sending ash nine miles
(15 kms) high in the sky. Hardest hit was the nearby town of
Chaiten, a community of 7,000 where vegetation, farm animals, and
buildings were covered daily in thick, white ash. More than 90 miles
(150 kms) from the volcano, Futaleufu, a popular eco-resort town
near the river of the same name, was also caked with over 16 inches
(40 cms) of ash. Those and other communities in the region were
evacuated. Pumalin Park, a sprawling, privately owned nature
preserve whose southern border lies just nine miles (15 kms) north
of Chaiten, reports minimal damage so far. The eruption has prompted
the government to announce it will go ahead with the Carretera
Austral, or Southern Highway, through Pumalin Park. Construction is
slated to begin in 2011.

Source - EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete
article)

28. Chile Enviro Groups Give Bachelet Lukewarm Review

May 26, 2008 - President Michelle Bachelet's more than two-hour,
State of the Nation speech on May 21 received cautious approval from
Chile's leading environmentalists. The Santiago-based NGO, Chile
Sustentable, applauded Bachelet's announcement that she will soon
send bills to Congress calling for the creation of both an
Environment Ministry and an Energy Ministry. Other positive signs
from the president's speech included her promise to convert Chile
into a whale sanctuary, and her strong endorsement of renewable
energy sources, particularly solar, according to the environmental
group. Chile Sustentable, however, lamented the president's failure
to outline concrete plans for tackling the challenge of climate
change, protecting the country's rapidly receding glaciers,
improving Santiago's notoriously dismal air quality, and for

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managing Chile's watersheds.

Source - Santiago Times

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