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La Serena, March 23, 2011

Region CoquimboAfter the dramatic events of August, 2010, the possibility was only slim that the corporation Compañia Minera del Pacifico (CMP) would receive a building permit to build a coal-fired power plant in Cruz Grande.

We remember well that President Piñera had corrected the decision by the regional government and had come to an agreement with the corporation Suez Energy that there in fact would not be a coal-fired power plant built in the community of La Higuera: "We do not want such a beautiful area to be destroyed. Let us enjoy the nature there." The citizen's movement MODEMA was pleased, but remained alert, as did we. One never knows. The approval process for the building permit in Cruz Grande was still ongoing and no decision had as of yet been made. Finally, on March 22nd, CMP announced that they were withdrawing their building permit application.

ProtestWe have finally reached our goal! None of the planned coal-fired power plants will be built on the Pacific coast of northern Chile, near the Natural Protection Area of the Humboldt Penguin. This was an amazing success. The normal people, the citizens of La Higuera, scientists and natural protectionists, and people from all over the world beat three commerical giants – the Chilean governmental corporation Codelco, the global player Suez Energy, and the Chilean corporation CMP. The normal people saved their jobs and preserved a unique ecosystem from destruction; the ecosystem is unique because of its biodiversity of flora and fauna, but also because of its importance as a breeding ground for whales and dolphins, the Peruvian Diving Petrel, and the Humboldt Penguin. 80% of the world's population of this extremely threatened penguin species lives there. The building of the coal-fired power plants would certainly have been the end of the Humboldt Penguin.Rosa Rojas und Gabriele Knauf

When the building plans were made known in 2008 and the citizen movement MODEMA began to organize its resistance, many, even experienced natural protectionists, were of the opinion that it was hopeless. "Against Codelco, against Suez Energy we have no chance." Even Chilean natural protectionists and scientists, and we ourselves had doubts and much fear that we would fail. But we were also of the opinion that we still had to try to succeed.

Rosa RojasWe have succeeded. The people and an area of nature in northern Chile again have a future, perhaps even a good one. For that we thank Rosa, Jan, and all the others from MODEMA. We have much respect for her courage, endurance and intelligence. We thank all the natural protectionists, scientists, and politicians that made the conflict known throughout the entire country of Chile, and for their efforts in this cause. Thanks as well to all in Europe that supported Sphenisco with this work. We have fought together and shown that: commitment to a cause is worth it.


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