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.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • Vietnamese land-grabbers held

    Following a provincial court order, Ratanakkiri Military Police on April 16 arrested 12 Vietnamese nationals accused of crossing the border into Cambodia and illegally clearing forest land. The accused are now being detained at Phnom Svay prison in the province. Ratanakkiri military police commander Thav Yen told

  • Eight people sent to court over violent protest

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities on Sunday sent eight people to court for blocking National Road 4 and using violence against authorities in a land dispute in Prey Nop district’s Bit Traing commune. Four police officers and two commune security guards sustained injuries when the protesters