Colombia: Judge rejects companies’ claims and allows proceedings against EPM’s Hidroituango Dam to continue

Despite the exceptions raised by companies and authorities, proceedings seeking the nullification of the environmental license of Hidroituango mega project will move forward. Following a hearing held on October 30, 2020, a decision denying all preliminary exceptions raised by the defendant entities - National Authority for Environmental Licenses (ANLA), Ministry of Environment and sustainable development, Corantioquia, Corpouraba, Hidroituango S.A. E.S.P. and EPM E.S.P - was issued.

In March 2017, FIDH and its member organisation, together with victims’ representatives, filed an action contesting the legality of the environmental license claiming the disregard for the fundamental right to effective participation of affected communities, procedural irregularities, and impacts to the peasant and ancestral community culture in the affected territories.

Hidroituango is a project of Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) that involves the construction of a hydroelectric dam that aims to generate 2,440 MW, with a 79-kilometer long reservoir and a 225-meter high wall, which affects a dozen municipalities in the Cauca River Basin in Antioquia. The work has already begun, causing forced population displacement, logging and negative impacts on the tropical dry forest in the area.

FIDH has been actively involved in the case, submitting on October 3rd, 2019 an amicus curiae in the framework of the complaint filed on March 27, 2017 against the Environmental License granted to the Hidroituango energy megaproject. FIDH has joined advocacy efforts to mobilize the international community to the situation faced by the population affected by the Hidroituango project and the Living Rivers Movement in Antioquia (Movimiento Ríos Vivos Antioquia).

The proceedings will continue and an evidentiary hearing is scheduled for February 24, 2021.

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