SANTIAGO Dec 17 A Chilean appeals court has
halted operations at energy company Endesa Chile's 350 megawatt
Bocamina II plant at the request of local fishermen, who say the
coal-fired complex has polluted the area.
The Concepcion Court of Appeals is poised to issue a ruling
in two to three months. The dispute could well end up in the
Supreme Court, based on recent history.
Local fishermen say the plant, located in the Southern Bio
Bio region, has harmed local fish species and saturated the air.
The community movement seeking to shut down the plant includes
one of the region's senators, left-winger Alejandro Navarro.
Leading Chilean electricity generator Endesa said
it hadn't been officially notified of the court decision. Its
128-megwatt Bocamina I plant isn't affected by the legal action.
The freeze is another blow to power generation in Chile,
where increased opposition by social, indigenous and
environmental groups have put many projects on ice.
An estimated 8,000 megawatts need to be added to Chile's
17,000 MW of power production capacity by the end of the decade,
the government says.