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Chile: Hydroaysen project decision postponed

January 30, 2014

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A Chilean ministerial committee has put off its decision on the fate of a $7 billion hydroelectric project meant to power central Chile by damming Patagonian rivers.

The committee on Thursday requested additional studies on how Hydroaysen could affect the volume of water in the rivers and a nearby glacier.

President-elect Michelle Bachelet has said the project “is not viable.”

Most Chileans also oppose the plans to tame two of the world’s wildest rivers and build more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) of power lines to the grid that powers the nation’s capital. Some marches against the project have turned violent.

The dams together could generate 2.75 gigawatts, nearly a third of central Chile’s current capacity, within 12 years.

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