Thursday, December 29, 2011

Central Planners Behaving Badly (Again) (NYTimes)

China Proceeds on Plan for Disputed Yangtze Dam

Matt Gross for The New York Times
The government approved shrinking a preserve for many fish species in the Yangtze River, making way for a $3.8 billion project.

BEIJING — The Chinese State Council has removed a crucial roadblock to building one of the nation’s most contentioushydroelectric dams, dealing a decisive defeat to environmentalists critical of the project — and showcasing the clout of one of the most powerful and ambitious politicians in China.
In a little-noticed ruling made public on Dec. 14, the council approved changes to shrink the boundaries of a Yangtze River preserve that is home to many of the river’s rare and endangered fish species. The decision is likely to clear the way for construction of the Xiaonanhai Dam, a $3.8 billion project that environmental experts say will flood much of the preserve and probably wipe out many species.
“This is almost the last reserve for the whole river basin, especially after the construction of Three Gorges,” the world’s largest hydroelectric project, said Qiaoyu Guo, Yangtze River project manager for the Nature Conservancy in Beijing. “There will be very dramatic damage to these kinds of species.”

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