Save the Humboldt Penguin, stop the power plants


Landau, the 17th of June 2008. Since September 2007 the community of “La Higuera” in the region of Coquimbo, northern Chile,is facing an imminent ecological disaster if plans for the construction of three coal power plants go through. Meanwhilemanyconservationists and scientists are protesting against this social and ecological disaster. If the constructions are allowed thiscould mean the end of the Humboldt- Penguin, because 80% of the wild Humboldt-Penguins lives in the region.



Many activists and conservationists in Europe are supporting Chilean scientists and the citizen action group "Movimiento en Defensa del Medio Ambiente" (MODEMA). Among the supporters are zoological gardens, members of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA), the WWF Center for Sea Protection in Hamburg, Germany, the German Association for Nature Protection (NABU) and the Zoological Society in Frankfurt, Germany.


The citizen movement has informed many regional and national politicians about the plans and mobilized many inhabitants in the concerned region. At the end of April it had organized a demonstration in La Serena. The protest shows effects, because the approval procedure for the power stations has stalled. All the concerned authorities are rejecting the plans for the constructions of the power plants by the firm Codelco, except the State Institutions which deal with energy. Currently Codelco is also trying to get the authorization to build a power plant in another region. Now we have to see if this proposition is a retreat or if Codelco really wants to build power plants in both regions.


Also the plan for the construction of another power plant by the firm SUEZ has momentanly been stopped thanks to strong objections. In the next month SUEZ will have to express its opinion about it. A few days ago the firm CMP has made an application for the construction of a power plant in Chungungo.


Until now we are still optimists and along with the Chilean ecologists we hope to prevent the power plants from being built.


Werner Knauf



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