Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lao consultants give dam the thumbs up

Lao consultants give dam the thumbs up

Lao consultants give dam the thumbs up

The controversial Don Sahong hydropower dam, which Laos says it will soon build just a kilometre from the Cambodian border, will not have significant effects on the Mekong River, according to an environmental impact assessment paid for by the dam’s builder.

Obtained yesterday, the report – prepared for Malaysian developer Mega First Corporation Berhad – says the project will actually benefit Laos, despite widespread concerns from environment groups.

“[The dam] will not have significant local or cumulative impacts on the Mekong River flows, fish migration, or fisheries,” the document says.

The EIA, submitted in January, adds that only 11 households will be relocated to make way for the project, which may have “small but positive impacts on global climate change by providing electricity that does not involve the burning of fossil fuels”.

“The health risks facing people living in the Lao PDR are higher than for those living elsewhere in the region …the hydropower project can improve this situation.”

The EIA was prepared by the National Consulting Company, which is based in the Lao capital, Vientiane, following an earlier EIA in 2007.

Laos, which has committed to building hydropower projects on the Mekong in the face of opposition from environment groups and its neighbours, pressed ahead with building the 1,285-megawatt Xayaburi dam last November.

A number of Lao ministries, including the prime minister’s office, were involved in the environmental assessment process, the Don Sahong EIA says.

Environment group International Rivers has warned that the dam “spells disaster for Mekong fish” and threatens the survival of the already endangered Irrawaddy dolphin.

Adding to these concerns, Meach Mean, a coordinator at the 3S Rivers Protection Network, said yesterday that the EIA had not considered Cambodians living downstream.

“It just focuses on the Laos side and the company that is investing . . . the communities downstream here, we have had not any consultation,” he said. “It will have a huge effect on fisheries, especially during the dry season.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all