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Movements denounce impact of pipeline construction

About 150 amongst affected and members of social movements and trade unions participated in the public hearing of the Commission of Mines and Energy of the Legislative Assembly of Minas Gerais (2th of December), which discussed the impacts of the construction of the pipeline between Congonhas Ferrous (MG) and President Kennedy (ES).

The pipeline will pass through 22 cities, affecting about 1,000 landowners, not to mention the sharecroppers and day laborers. It will have an extend of 40 m width and 400 km lenght, not including construction sites, storage of land, opening roads, etc. The devastation is equivalent to almost 6,000 football fields, generating only 51 jobs, less than 3 per municipality. In Congonhas will captured 1,400 m³ of water per hour of the Paraopebas Rio Doce River Basin.

Louis Smith, representative of the affected, denounced various irregularities and violations of rights in the negotiation process. “The company did not properly inform the affected and disregard the properties. I even had my home invaded. I woke up one day and saw that there was a sign written ‘right of way of the pipeline of Ferrous’. They put the card without my permission.” Also denounced that th the company send out psychologists to convince a neighbour in Viçosa Palmital to receive 10 thousand reais in damages. At the end of talks, they presented photos and videos that show the size of the impact of the work, especially in watershed areas that supply the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV) and the whole city.

Pablo Dias, member of the state coordination of the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), stressed that the negotiations did not treat those affected equitably, and neighbours in the same locality were offered completely different values. “We also need to press the environmental agencies to supervise and take action regarding the path of the pipeline and the suppression of the Atlantic forest in various regions causing irreversible environmental impacts” said. He proposed that the IBAMA would redo the Environmental Impact Assessment and that the Legislative Assembly initiate a commission to investigate allegations of human rights violations.

The hearing sent various requirements relating to allegations of rights violations and proposed holding a public debate in the Legislative Assembly of Minas Gerais to discuss and question the decree of the governor Antônio Anastasia (PSDB), which considers the work of public utility.

State Representative Roger Cooke said that the claims made only will be adressed by the pressure of public mobilization and Fernanda Oliveira Portes, national coordination of MAB, urged the various organizations present to continue the process of organization. “This project has been declared a public utility but only brings harm to workers. We hope that IBAMA is committed to investige and that the Legislature expand the debate and advance the construction of public policies to those affected” said.