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Validity of environmental report questioned

Luang Nam Tha Dam, Laos

A report commissioned by the Lao Government to evaluate the Xayaburi Dam’s compliance with the Mekong River Commissions requirements has been labelled by opposition groups as a “greenwash”.

Ame Trandem from International Rivers stated in Times Live that the environmental assessment by Poeyry Energy AG “sidesteps science and relies instead on guesswork” and that the report “greenwashes” the projects impact, and was “an unsuitable basis for decision making on the Xayaburi Dam.”

Further to this, The Cambodia Daily reported on 15 November 2011 that Trandem declared that if the “Lao government were to move forward with a controversial dam project, it would violate the 1995 Mekong Agreement.”  Under the agreement MRC countries – “Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam – must jointly agree on the development of the mainstream Mekong.”

However, Poyry Energy AG “has rejected claims … that their assessment was ‘biased’ due partly to existing ties with a project backer.”  In a report in the Phnom Penh Post, a representative of the company stated that they had “no partnership or special relationship” with the builders of the dam and that “Poyry has no conflict of interest in the Dam project,” and that the report was “based on comprehensive technical analysis supported by our company’s extensive experience in the field.”