Yamba Dam Suspended As DPJ Prepares To Lead

What a difference a day makes. I have friends who told me just last week that they would attend a court hearing about Yamba Dam, a controversial project in Gunma prefecture first proposed way back in 1952. This huge hydro-electric power plant would also help supply water to Tokyo and the entire Kanto region. Now, today, Yamba, already costing tax payers some 321.7 billion yen ($3.2 billion), has been postponed to the joy of local activists, according to The Asahi:

...the DPJ, which pulled off a landslide victory in the Lower House election Sunday, has pledged to "drastically review large-scale public works projects that fail to meet the needs of the times." The Yanba dam is one of the projects expected to be axed under the new DPJ administration. Hiroaki Taniguchi, vice minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism, told reporters Monday that the ministry would "comply with the instructions of the new minister." Other public works projects, including the Kawabegawa Dam in Kumamoto Prefecture, could face a similar fate.

So, are we totally against all hydro projects? More over at Treehugger. I agree with Tetsunari Iida, executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP), Japan, who was recently featured in an article by Japan for Sustainability:

Natural energy includes energy of solar origin and geothermal energy meaning magma heat as well as wind, wave and tidal energy. However, some types of renewable energy cannot be classified into sustainable natural energy. For example, large-scale power generation by hydroelectric dams, typically the Three Gorges Dam in China, and multi-purpose dams, represented by Yanba Dam in Japan, does not emit CO2 but exerts a significantly bad influence upon rivers and other natural, living and social environment. Therefore, hydro energy cannot be indiscriminately categorized into natural energy.

There are also many examples of "micro-hydro" or small scale power stations, that do not interfer with the environment, and can help local communities with their energy needs.

More details on The Association of Concerned Citizens For Yamba Dam Project (English website, they also have information in French, thanks!)


Can Our Man be the first to say dam right!?!
Martin J Frid said…
Well, it's a lot better than "Da-do-dam-dam-dam-da-do-dam-dam."
Tom O said…
Its disgraceful, by postponing this project it just shows they don't give a dam!
Pandabonium said…
I think proponents of this dam project are all wet.

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