Vecinos de Huife alto protestaron contra aprobación de hidroeléctrica (Intendente se lava las manos)

Families directly affected manifested in the outskirts of the Regional Government their rejection of the project that would radically affect their quality of life and the ecosystem of the area irreversibly.

Before the approval by 10 votes in favor (of SEREMIs) and one against (of the mayor) that the Environmental Assessment Commission of La Araucanía resolved to give the green light to the construction of the Llancalil hydroelectric  plant in the Huife Alto area, Located 23 kilometers from Pucón, the Communal Union of Juntas de Vecinos Rurales that integrates families directly affected in the area, as well as members of the Mapuche communities Millaque Millahual and Cariman Sánchez, expressed their rejection of the almost unanimous vote that the ministerial authorities in the Region resolved last Thursday July 11, protesting against the approval of the energy project in front of the Intendency in Temuco, while the Seremis performed parallel to the interior of the building litigation almost behind closed doors.

«Almost 60 years that we live there, and the river is the source of life that we have, for water, fish, etc. The intake with which they want to intervene the flow is going to 50 meters from my house, which completely damages our quality of life, they will pipe the river and it will be dry, «said Marta Salazar, owner of the Huife Alto sector.

Referring to the secrecy of the vote in which all Regional Ministerial Secretaries approved the creation of the hydroelectric plant, Ely López, Guardiana del Territorio de Curarrehue, argued that «it seems to me unusual that we were prohibited from entering the voting. it is a demonstration of the violence exerted by this Government in front of the citizenship, in front of the people who are opposed to the installation of a hydroelectric project in the area of ​​Llancalil in Pucón, directly affecting one of the most important tourist places in Chile » , added the leader.

Meanwhile, Alejandra Parra, Biologist in Natural Resources Management of the Action Network for Environmental Rights (RADA) referred to the irreversible ecological damage that would cause the presence of the hydroelectric plant in the lake area, adding that «if this project is approved , could cause great damage due to the impact to the river on the one hand as a water resource, since each year the flow is reduced more and when water is used for industrial purposes, less water is left available for peasant uses such as irrigation, animal consumption and even human consumption. In addition, rivers as ecosystems are habitat for a great diversity of animal and plant species, birds, aquatic mammals, amphibians, fish, insects. Intervening a river in this way means that this ecosystem loses continuity, stopping connecting some places with others,

It should be noted that the indigenous consultation was not considered in the environmental evaluation of this project despite its obvious impacts on two Mapuche communities in the area: Cariman Sánchez and Millaque Millahual.

It is worth remembering that it is the third time that the project to create the Llancalil hydroelectric plant has entered into an environmental assessment, never having developed an Environmental Impact Study that substantiates what was declared by the company. The first time this project entered evaluation, was 2013, being declared inadmissible by the SEA. The second time was the year 2014 and it was abandoned by the titular German company.

Surprisingly, the Mayor of La Araucanía Jorge Atton was the only vote against the approval of this project. The incoherence of the mayor’s vote with those of the SEREMIs (all in favor), was explained by the same mayor in statements to the Austral newspaper on July 13, where he said that within the COEVA alone he has the authority to consider political aspects in addition to technicians However, on the one hand, the arguments put forward by the mayor who base their position against are technical, since they relate to the planning of the territory, the existence of a Tourist Interest Zone, the absence of a connection project for the electricity production of the power station, and lack of added value for the economic and social development of the region. These same arguments could have been considered by the SEREMI of Economy, Social Development, Environment, Environmental Assessment Service, among others. Therefore, the limitation that the mayor says exists for the decision to vote of the SEREMIs does not exist. In addition, it is illusory to think that technical arguments can be read without a political prism, which is exactly what public services do when they vote. In addition, it is well known that the SEREMIs vote under the orders of the Intendant, president of the COEVA and head of all public services in the region, something that has been demonstrated repeatedly with projects that have been approved even with a recommendation to reject part of the SEA. Therefore, the limitation that the mayor says exists for the decision to vote of the SEREMIs does not exist. In addition, it is illusory to think that technical arguments can be read without a political prism, which is exactly what public services do when they vote. In addition, it is well known that the SEREMIs vote under the orders of the Intendant, president of the COEVA and head of all public services in the region, something that has been demonstrated repeatedly with projects that have been approved even with a recommendation to reject part of the SEA. Therefore, the limitation that the mayor says exists for the decision to vote of the SEREMIs does not exist. In addition, it is illusory to think that technical arguments can be read without a political prism, which is exactly what public services do when they vote. In addition, it is well known that the SEREMIs vote under the orders of the Intendant, president of the COEVA and head of all public services in the region, something that has been demonstrated repeatedly with projects that have been approved even with a recommendation to reject part of the SEA.

On the other hand, the Mayor along with Deputy Sebastián Álvarez, have indicated that these problems would be resolved with the approval of the reform of the Environmental Impact Assessment System, since this would make citizen participation binding, something totally false. In fact, what SEIA reform seeks is to reduce citizen participation in the evaluation of projects, by eliminating the regional offices of the SEA, and to eliminate citizen participation in paper format, which would leave many communities that are distant, in practice, unable to exercise effective citizen participation.

Deputy Álvarez attended the march in rejection of the approval of the Llancalil project developed in Pucón on Saturday, July 13, where he was expelled by members of local organizations for having voted in favor of the TPP in the lower house of Congress at the end of April. this year.

Fuente: radaraucania.cl