June 12, 2014–After years of campaigning, negotiating, and hard work, the threat of the HidroAysén dams has finally been laid to rest. Thanks to a unanimous vote this week by Chile’s Committee of Ministers, the environmental permits for the project were overturned, effectively cancelling the project. After many years, we breathe a sigh of relief that our local Baker and Pascua rivers will remain free.
From the beginning, we joined Chileans from across the country in some of the most powerful grass root organizing the world has ever seen. Starting in our neighboring town of Cochrane, Patagonia Sin Represas sprung quickly to major cities, fueling large demonstrations and garnering international attention. Filmmakers, writers and photographers came to Chile to tell our story and join the fight. Friends from international organizations have generously focused their efforts for years to protect our remote corner of the world. The Patagonia Sin Represas campaign has undoubtedly laid the groundwork for successful future national and international environmental campaigns alike. It is with great pride and gratitude that we close this chapter in Chile’s environmental history.
Two of the wildest rivers left in the world, the Baker and Pascua exemplify the wild and bio-diverse terrain of iconic Patagonia. If you have ever had the pleasure of paddling their blue waters, hiking their pristine banks, or merely admired a photograph of the surrounding glimmering ice fields, you no doubt have already seen for yourself the importance of their protection.
Before President Michelle Bachelet was elected, she condemned the dams as not viable. We are proud and uplifted to see the president stand by her word. We will undoubtedly face this same battle for even larger dams already proposed in Patagonia, but we have shown the country and the world that we are watching and listening.
Please join us in celebration of this historic and well-earned victory!
Founder and President