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Aguirre Calls on CFE for Water, Just Compensation

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 12 May, 2011

(Chilpancingo, JG 11 May) Governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero met earlier this week with supporters of the La Parota hydroelectric project, which has caused a conflict between economic progress and the continuation of country life in a remote section of Guerrero state. The situation is reminiscent of Hollywood film plots from the 1940’s. Supporters of the dam regard the matter as already settled, and that the federal power utility, CFE, is free to go forward whenever it wishes, for so long as it observes all legal requirements.

Aguirre, for his part, said that the two opposing factions share many concerns in common and that their opinions coincide in several respects, putting aside the basic issue on which they are diametrically opposed: the construction of the dam. The governor said that the CFE is the governmental entity that must decide the matter. The federal government has passed the legislation and budget, and the state government has no role in deciding about the project’s future. Aguirre is interested in helping to mediate between the competing interests, to be sure that the project, when implemented, adequately addresses the concerns of all. Specifically, he urged that CFE should first offer a fair price for the land that will be under the dam’s flood plain. He also said that the utility should commit to a decrease in electric rates in Guerrero as a result, and that it guarantee the supply of drinking water to all the neighborhoods and communities of Acapulco, something that CAPAMA, the local water authority, has been unable to provide for decades. “They should also guarantee that there be no damage to the ecosystem, taking into account all that they have told us about the most modern technologies.”

Finally, the governor pointed to the local economic benefits from the construction of the dam itself. “The locals are the owners of the dump trucks and heavy equipment,” he said, “and obviously the government will need to make fair contracts with them and support projects in the area of ecology and tourism, taking advantage of the large lake.” The governor is envisioning an impact similar to that which happened in the 1930’s near Las Vegas, with the construction of the Hoover Dam, a project that effectively raised the local economy out of the depths of the Great Depression.