SUBJECT: CHALILLO DAM ISSUES
CHALILLO DAM PROJECT MAIN ISSUES
The Chalillo dam project purposed by Fortis faced strong opposition from many stakeholders from different directions. The strongest opposition came from environmental activists and conservation group . The root cause of these problems and strong opposition was because of the perceived negative environmental impact of the construction of the dam. Therefore the primary problem we faced was the fact that the construction of the dam would damage the environment of threatened and endangered species of plant and animal life according to the activists and EIA report conducted by the Museum of Natural History in England. Some of the secondary problems we faced were the lawsuits from the activist groups, negative press and public attention to our Fortis brand, and lobbying from these groups to government officials against Fortis.
I believe the solution relies on improving our public image as it has been slandered and attacked by the environmental interest groups opposing us. I would have recommended to publically attack against the environmental groups with a counter campaign demonstrating the benefits of the Chalillo dam to the people of Belize, like flood control, reliable power, and the benefits of renewable greenhouse emission free hydro electricity coupled with the ability to shutdown harmful fossil fuel polluting diesel production plants. I would have also suggested the company setup other non related environmental projects in Belize to pull public attention away from the Chalillo project, similar to the way shell and various oil companies have funded different environmental projects to protect certain species and habitats.
The solution must increase the positive reaction to building the Chalillo dam and decrease the negative reactions. This will restore public image and would have stopped negative press and government lobbying directed against us. By launching a counter campaign we could have combated the lobbying and negative media attention and brought more awareness to the benefits our project. Setting up other environmental projects also would have provided us with positive press to further dilute the negative public perception with our company.
Other alternatives that could have been implanted include the building roads, providing fire protection, banning hunting, a minimum water level in the river and provide aeration down stream in the area effected by the Chalillo dam. These were considered as mitigation measures in the EIA report from the Museum of Natural History in London. These measures were provided to lessen the environmental impact of the Chalillo dam. This could have lessened public opposition because people would think that these measures would help protect the environment. However that same EIA report did conclude that these measures would in the long run be ineffective. Also the capital required to build new roads and provide constant fire protection, and aeration down stream could prove to be very costly and adversely effect profits. Launching a counter campaign demonstrating the pro’s of what the project stands for and setting up environmental programs are strategies that has been used effectively by many companies from